Fast Food – Fast Way to Die  

Magazines and newspapers are forever telling us that fast food is unhealthy.  John and I rarely go to those places, but we were traveling and wanted a quick meal.  I have to admit that I like all the fast food places and sometimes crave a good hamburger that I didn’t cook myself.  Up till now, I thought I could get away with an occasional indulgence.  I won’t say which chain we went to, but the sign said they are known for their burgers and shakes.  My question is, are they known for good ones or bad ones?  You be the judge.

John unwrapped his hamburger before I did, and the first thing I noticed was fat dripping down onto the wrapper.  He has been avoiding beef since the insertion of a stent, and this had to be the worst thing he could have eaten.  He knew it and said so.  I looked around at the other customers.  They were all of advanced age, well advanced.  We might have been the youngest ones there, and we are not spring chickens.  We are more like dead-of-winter chickens.  A man with a cane approached the counter, accompanied by his gray-haired wife.  They hadn’t even ordered when he keeled over onto the floor, breaking his glasses.  Can you imagine an eatery so bad that just thinking of ordering would do you in?

Young people rushed to the old man’s aid.  They picked up the pieces of his glasses and hoisted him onto a chair.  A teenager behind the counter tossed a cup to a coworker near us, and she filled it with water at the drink station.  Do you suppose they were good at this rescue because they had a lot of practice???

The old couple pulled themselves together and hobbled out.  He was probably too shaken to think of eating.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he learned his lesson and will never go back to that place.  This dramatic warning did not faze us, not in the least.  We calmly finished our burgers and fries, licked our fingers, sucked on our shakes, and toddled out.  Does anyone have an antidote for nightmares?  I have a feeling we should have one handy.

Wearing a Gun  

As usual, neighbor Amy had me in stitches. She didn’t mind that I wrote about her gun, so here is her story:

Amy grew up in the South, so guns were nothing new to her.  Her dad had guns, and so did husband Ron.  Unlike me, she shot guns herself.  She also owned a pistol.  I’m not sure why she recently got a conceal and carry license.  Possibly there was a discussion in her church after the mass shooting of people in a Bible study group in South Carolina.  Also, her moving date is coming up.  She’ll be leaving our bucolic area to live in a city.  In any case, she took the course, had the proper credentials with her, and went to the pawn shop in Waynesville.  I was thrilled to be there running errands with her, because I had never been in a pawn shop before.  While she looked at guns, I checked out the jewelry, all the rings, anyway.  The shop had mostly firearms and musical instruments.  She bought a small pistol and went back another day for a holster.

We were riding in the car when Amy told me about wearing the gun.  She was working around the house and decided she might as well get used to having it on her.  The telephone was in her usual pocket with the gun in the holster above it.  Somehow she butt dialed one of her nieces and gradually became aware that voices were coming from her pocket.  By this time in the story, we were parked.  She demonstrated what happened.  In fumbling quickly for the phone, she drew out the gun instead.  There in the car she had the gun in her hand, and with mock horror, was looking down the barrel pointed toward her face.

She exclaimed, “What if I shot myself in the face with a loaded gun?  They’d say the cause of death was trying to answer the phone!  I think I’m going to have to change which pocket I use for the phone.”

Logan’s School Program  

Logan made a special trip across the street to invite us to his end of year school program.  We wouldn’t have missed it for anything.  Parents and guests were seated when the kindergartners came in and stood around the edge of the auditorium.  The music teacher announced a “Kodak moment”, inviting adults to find their child and take close ups before the program started.

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Logan dressed as a pirate

Every child had a special part, either singing, announcing a piece, or acting in a skit.  Most of the time Logan was on the corner nearest us.

052716 Logan on stage.JPG

Shawn and Bob invited us to join them for pizza at the Rendezvous restaurant near the school.  Their daughter Courtney was there, as well.

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Shawn told the story of Logan’s tooth, and I wanted to see the space where it had been.  He kindly posed for me.

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As we waited for the pizza to come, Courtney began sketching the back of Logan’s head while he played tic tac toe with me.  I shouldn’t have been surprised at how good it was, because Shawn is very artistic.  Talent must run in the family.  If I had done anything half that good, I would have taken it home and framed it.

052716 Courtney sketched Logan's head.JPG

Logan wanted her to draw a tooth fairy, which she did.  It’s the upper one in the photo, a happy tooth face with wings.  That didn’t coincide with Logan’s idea of the real tooth fairy, so Courtney drew a more traditional one to please him.

052716 Courtney drew two tooth fairies.JPG

Logan ate one slice of pizza, pulled his arms into the body of his shirt, and leaned against the back of his chair.  Shawn explained why Logan was tired.  He pulled that tooth out the night before and was convinced he had to stay awake until the tooth fairy came to take his tooth.  They didn’t realize that at first, but finally Bob sneaked in and did the job so everyone could sleep.

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My Most Meaningful Trophy  

I’m not going to ask neighbor Bob to build me a display case, but I’m very proud of my new trophy for walking.  After I retired and moved to North Carolina, I extended my walking schedule by one day.  John joined me, so it’s on our agenda to walk six mornings a week.  We go to the creek and back, a two-mile walk which takes about an hour.  Please note that John could walk twice as fast, but he restrains himself by walking not more than two paces ahead of me.

Several years ago I bought a 10-pair bag of socks, rotating them once a week.  That means each pair is worn six hours a week unless it rains.  I lost four socks, so each pair is now worn every eight weeks.  Don’t worry; this is not an arithmetic problem.  After years of steady walking, I finally wore a hole in the heel of one sock.  This is my hard-earned trophy.

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I hope to wear out a few more.  Since I have equal opportunity sock employment, I expect more holes in the future.  If you are eager for a math problem, could you take the statistics here, project them in the future, and tell me if I have a lifetime supply left?

Mouthful Mumble  

Neighbor Amy has only three weeks to go until moving day, so I drop everything to run errands with her.  She is terribly busy picking up boxes, dropping things off at Goodwill, taking garbage to the dump, and buying supplies for last minute projects.  I just go for the ride and the chance to visit and laugh.  Laughter is a key component.

There were two letters on the center console which I had kept pinned down with my elbow.  Amy is a fast driver, though I think all four wheels stayed on the road.  As she drew up to the curbside mailbox, I handed her the envelopes.  She poked them toward the chute, withdrew her hand, flipped one letter over, and licked the flap.

“Th un nah ee ulled,” she said, as her tongue traced the edge of the flap.

I was already laughing when I asked, “What did you say?”

“This one was not sealed,” she replied, grinning and laughing.  We were on the way to pick up her dental records, and I thought she sounded like she was in the dentist’s chair already, with her mouth full of instruments.

Amy Makes Me Laugh  

I made neighbor Amy repeat the phrase the first time she said it.  Then she explained, “You use it when you’re threatening a child.”

Yes, we’re probably showing the age we grew up in.  It was perfectly acceptable for a parent to tell a child what was going to happen to him if he didn’t straighten up and fly right.  Although I grew up in the South, I hadn’t heard this one before.

The threat was, “I’m gonna jerk a knot in you.”

Amy said, “You have to say it through clenched teeth with a mean twist to your voice like this.  If you don’t pick that up right now, I’m gonna jerk a knot in you.”

I laughed and laughed.  I can’t imagine those words coming out of my mouth.  They might be quite effective if there were no PC police around.  Have you ever heard it in real life?

Pleasure Followed by Gardening   

Our favorite neighborhood foster child came back for a brief visit.  Dennis would have stayed with his former foster parents Shawn and Bob, but they had a full house.  He slept at our house.  That meant we had a chance to visit with him when he wasn’t busy with them, other neighbors, and friends.

I don’t know Dennis’ whole story, but he overcame many obstacles in his young life.  One of the worst was the disservice from social service agencies.  He was put in six different homes in about eight years.  Shawn and Bob took him in when he was already a teenager, and he has another year to go before he can get out of the system.

Shawn and Bob can be so proud of him.  He still has the good manners they taught him and was a pleasure to be with.  After meals, he cleared the table, not only his own dishes, but ours as well.  Dennis also made his bed voluntarily!!  He spent time chatting with us and thanked us for everything we did for him.

The most pleasure I got from gardening was knowing it was over for the day.  I realized it was time to plant the seeds we bought weeks ago.  I strode outside carrying the shovel, a trowel, gloves, and the seed packets.  Four o’clock seeds went near the fence.  I liked their description, that the plants can be temporary hedges.  Nasturtiums (which my dad called nasty turtiums) were planted in the middle of the garden.  They like full sun and poor soil — should be perfect.  The delphiniums were planted near the porch in partial shade.  By the time I finished, I could hardly stand upright.  What a difference there was in the way I went out to garden and the way I returned!  I don’t think I would have been able to make it back to the house without using the shovel as a walking stick.  Neighbor Amy thought I was joking about becoming an instant cripple because of gardening, but if anything, it was worse than I let on.  Prudence would dictate I have a caregiver in the house before venturing out to battle the garden.  I’m telling you, gardening could be lethal!  The poor seeds would agree.  They had to wait until afternoon for their first watering.