Friday, November 21, 2014

Flashback Friday #255

My Dad

Those of you who have not heard, my dad passed away this Monday. I'm going to use this post to flashback to some of my Flashback Friday posts dealing with my dad.

This story is one of my fondest memories of my dad.

This story deals with one of our family bonding activities.

This story tells of Dad's reaction to discovering that I lied to him.

This story tells of my favorite practical joke that I played on Dad.

And finally, this story tells how dad got us indoor plumbing for the first time.

I'm going to miss Dad tremendously but watching how ALS had ravaged him over the last couple of years was absolutely heartbreaking. Rest in peace, Dad.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Flashback Friday #254

Speed & Gravel Roads Don't Mix

Welcome once again to another fast paced Flashback Friday. I say fast paced because this post deals with speeding, and what can happen if you're not a very experienced driver.

I've written several times about the Crook boys that lived beside us. Justa was the coolest thing this side of Antarctica. He ran with the "Hood" crowd. Skipping school & smoking dope was what he liked to do best. If he could do both, he was happy as a lark.

One day, as the bus stopped to pick us up for school, I didn't see Justa. I asked Sneaky where he was. "One of his friends stopped by in a van and picked him up. He told Mom that he was getting a ride to school, but I'll bet he doesn't make it there". I knew the friend that Sneaky was talking about. The kids called him "Bug". He was tall, thin & had stringy blond hair (Hmm. I just described Justa too). 

When we got to school, I checked out the parking lot for Bug's van. He drove the only white panel van in the school. He always said that there was a bed in the back. I don't know if there was or not because you couldn't trust most of what came out of his mouth.

About midway through the day, we heard the scream of sirens going by the west side of the school. The road that lead to the entrance of my school off the main highway, was paved only as far as the school grounds. It was gravel the rest of the way until you reached another highway about two miles away. 

Through the grapevine we heard that Bugs had been driving the van toward the school on the gravel part of the road. There is a pretty sharp curve before you get to the school property. He had his license about as long as I did (he was in my Drivers-Ed class) and he hit that curve too fast. It went into a skid and then started to roll. It has rolled at least three times before it came to rest on its top. Bugs & Justa were taken to the ER in an emergency squad. Fortunately, the injuries were mild compared to what they could have been. Bug suffered a broken arm, bruises & lacerations. Justa received a concussion, bruises & lacerations. The van was totaled. Do you think they learned anything from this. Nope.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Yesterday, I turned 51. Seeing that I've already had my mid-life crisis, it wasn't that big of a deal. My daughter, The Ogre, came over with her husband, The Huntsman, and their two kids, The Boy & The Girl. My wife, Lady-Nottaguy-TYG, had made cube steaks in gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans, & biscuits for supper. She also had picked up a "Cake Boss" cake from Kroger. The meal was great and so was the cake.
On Saturday, which is the actual date of my birth, My wife set up a date with a couple from our church to go to Logan's Roadhouse in Mansfield. I don't usually use the real names of establishments here, but the service was astounding and the meal was great. I figured I'd give them a shoutout.

Anyway, once we got there, we ran into four more of our friends. After a meal of salad, steak & baked potato, our waiter talked us into ordering dessert. i was content to come home and eat some more cake, but why not. We order a peanut butter ice cream thingee and were astounded when they brought it out.
Huge does not begin to describe this. We each had ordered one to share with our spouse. We could have shared this with the whole table. There's a Veggie Tale episode where a resturant opens up and advertizes "Food as big as your head". This very nearly was.

Lastly, as we were heading to bed, it dawned on us that we needed to set our clocks back for daylight savings was ending. There's nothing like getting an extra hour's sleep for your birthday.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Flashback Friday #253


Bart Moves Again

Hello, Welcome once again to "Minutia Matinee" where you get to hear about people that you don't know and places that you've never heard of. Today, I'll attempt to entertain you with a tale of horror. My best friend told me that he was moving.

I showed up at school like any other normal day.  I filed into my home room class where Bart is talking to a couple of other kids. He motions me over.

"I was just telling them that my family is moving." said Bart. Were moving to a different town. Dad says our landlord won't do what he's supposed to do so he's not staying another month in that house."

With this information, my heart nearly stops beating. My best friend moving away? Say it ain't so.

After seeing the effect of this bomb that he dropped on the folks that were listening to him, he smiled and said, "We're moving from Marengo back to Sparta." A collective sigh went up. Sparta was still in our school district. Bart was moving away, just moving. They lived in Sparta the first time I went to his house.He was going to live so close to the school that he could walk there. Which to him was a great relief because he had a girl on his bus that he called "Frog" that annoyed him to no end.

I don't mind if my friends move, I just don't like them to move away.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How's That Again?

The other day we were sitting down to supper with two of our grandkids, "The Boy" & "The Girl". The Girl, who is five, turns to Lady Nottaguy_TYG and asks her, "Nana, where are your kids?" My wife told her, "Honey, My kids are grown up. My kids are your mommy and Aunt Lemon." The girl processed that for a moment, then replied "So,... you're old?" I really did LOL.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Flashback Friday #252

A Bad Choice For Bart

Hello again. Yes, I realized that I missed last week. Busy, busy, busy.

Anyway, this post is about a choice that I offered Bart. In retrospect, he chose wrong. However, neither of us could have known just how wrong at the time.

My on & off girlfriend, Toni, had gotten me interested in collecting baseball cards. I had also been buying football cards. This was the second year that I had  collected. I had many cards that were the same. These are called "doubles".

Bart also had some older cards that his older brother had given him when he got married & moved out. The gem of his collection was Mickey Mantle's last card. I asked him if he would like to get into collecting current cards. He said he would, but he was more of a football fan than a baseball fan. I told him that I could hook him up with some of my football "doubles".

He especially liked the Philadelphia Eagles. I had a few doubles of them that I let him have. He also liked quarterbacks (the most popular position on the field). I dug through my stash to find some quarterbacks for him. I didn't have very many, but I offered him one from each team that I had. Each of the teams had a card of their starting QB and most had a card of the back-up. There were a couple of bad teams that had two quarterbacks with similar stats.

I offered Bart his choice of one particular team. After looking at the stats on the back, Bart chose the guy that had passed for the most yards because he must have been the starter. The card he chose was Steve DeBerg who passed for 1,998 yards for the San Francisco 49ers. The card that he passed up was of a guy that had thrown for 1,795 yards for the same team. This was DeBerg's third year in the league and the other QB had been in the league for two.

The other guy was some guy named Joe Montana. What I didn't realize was that since he wasn't pictured the previous year, this was his rookie card. Yes, I talking about THE Joe Montana that was Super Bowl MVP three times and threw for over 50,000 yards in his NFL career. DeBerg had an OK career, but lost the starting QB gig three times to younger quarterbacks. The first was with the 49er losing out to Montana. He then went to the Broncos for a few years and a youngster named John Elway beat him out for the job. That lead him to the Buccaneers where a transplant from the USFL took his spot. That quarterback's name was Steve Young. I guess if you're going to lose a job, getting beat out by three Football Hall of Fame quarterbacks is the way to do it.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Making Apple Butter

Friday night, "The Girl" stayed with us a little later than normal to help Lady Nottaguy-TYG make homemade apple butter. She had purchased a half-bushel of apples from a local orchard in preparation for this night.

We attached our apple peeler/corer/slicer on the little table that we have in our dining room. "The Girl" got to turn the crank.
Everyone know that the workman is worth his wages, so she ate her fill of peelings and small pieces of apple that would find themselves on the table.

The filled two containers with apples slices. A large pot for the stove to make right away and my wife's large oval crock pot liner. That batch was going to cook all night as we slept.
Once the apples were sliced, and to table cleaned off, the pot was taken to the stove where the other ingredients would be added. Lady Nottaguy-TYG measured out the ingredients and let "The Girl" put them in.
Once the apples had cooked for a while, it was time to mash them. We had to remind "The Girl" several times that the apples were hot, as she tended to get a wee bit excited about "mashin' dem apples."
After the apples were mashed and cooked some more, they were mashed again. By this time you could tell that "The Girl" was getting tired as she was getting giddy. After some more cooking, the apple butter was ready to can.
She was really pumped that she got to take some home with her when "The Woodsman" came to pick her up. She told him that she would share with him. How nice.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Flashback Friday #251

Going To Church

Greeting to all who just happened to stumble by this way. If you read last week's post (and if you didn't, you really should for this to make sense.), you'll see how my best friend, Bart, tricked me into attending church with him. But there's more to the story...

Sunday morning came and I got dress, dreading the decision I had made to got to church with Bart & his family. I had packed a pair of jeans and a flannel shirt, not realizing that I would be going to church the next morning. I was told not to worry about what I was wearing.

It took about 30 minutes to drive to their church. We passed several churches along the way. Why were we going so far away?  I had only ever been to two churches before, not counting a VBS that I attended when I was about seven. Whenever the church down the road from us (the Wesleyan church where Aunt Shelly went) was giving away something, I would go for the freebies. Then I went with Doris just because she was pretty. It was Pentecostal. This was neither. It was some church that started with an "A". Abostol, Apostoc, no, wait, Apostolic. Yeah, that's it.

When we got there, I noticed something strange. All the people called each other "Brother" and "Sister". Was everyone in this church related? I was told that since we were all God's children, that made us brothers & sisters. OK. Whatever.

Bart escorted me down to the Senior High Sunday School class where I saw several of the kids that I had seen at the hayride the night before. The teacher was a big, burly guy they called "Brother Simmons". He was quite jovial and laughed a lot. Sunday School was over before I knew it and, unlike Aunt Shelly's church, there wasn't more church after Sunday School. We piled in the car and headed home.

In the car, Bart's mom asked if I wanted to stay for lunch. She was planning to make pot roast, mashed potatoes & green beans. Even the picky eater that I was liked all of those offerings. I told her that I'd stay.

While she was cooking lunch, Bart showed me the movie player that they had check out of the library. This was the days before home VHS players. It was an interesting contraption. Most of the "movies" that came with the player we greatly abridged versions of classics. When you can get through "Around the World in 80 Days" in about 30 minutes, that what I call abridged. There were also several "Little Rascal" silent shorts. We watched these until it was time to eat.

After lunch, we commenced to watching more while Bart's mom cleaned up. About 5:30, Bart's mom asked if I was going with them to church that evening. She said that if they tried to get me home before they went to church, they would be late for church. What? Church at night? Who had ever heard of such a thing? Aunt Shelly's church didn't do that. If the church that I went to with Doris met at night, I hadn't gone.

Great. Here I am again getting guilted into going to church again. They had fed me well and I hated to make them late. Oh, OK. I'll go. Once again we made the 30 minute trip and got there just before church started. I think there had been some behind-the-scene planning going. They sang some songs and then the pastor, "Brother Kramden" preached.

I couldn't tell you what he preached, but I was convicted. However I wasn't going to go up and pray. So I put my head on the back of the pew in front of me. Shortly thereafter, the pastor came over to me and asked if I had ever been to a Pentecostal church.Pentecostal, this wasn't Pentecostal, it was Apostolic. I told him that I had attended a church in Mt. Gilead that was Pentecostal. He said the pastor there had left this church to begin a work there.Wait. Apostolic and Pentecostal were the same type of church? I was assured by the pastor that they were. They followed the Apostles doctrine and were Pentecostal in their worship.

 I thought to myself' This is really weird. I've only been to two churches in the last two years and they are the same denomination. Coincidence? I don't think so. I think God is trying to tell me something." I made up my mind right then & there that I would start coming with Bart's family every Sunday. That was the 1st Sunday of November in 1980. I'm still at that church.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Farewell To A Friend

On Monday of this week, we said farewell to our fierce dragon and protector of the realm. Sparky crossed over the Rainbow Bridge.I hadn't had a dog this long since Peanut, the dog of my childhood. Thanks to the invention of the camera phone, he was the most photographed pet we ever had. Here are some pics of my little buddy:

He was always the protector of the weaker or smaller. My MIL's therapist didn't like him because Sparky thought that he was trying to hurt her during rehab for a shoulder injury. Kids were safe from bigger kids & parental reprimands. He also patrolled the back yard and played :Nanny Dog" when the kids were in it

All of the furniture belonged to him. If you didn't want dog hair on you. Too bad. Any blanket or pillow was a comfy spot to take a snooze (especially if there was a sunbeam involved). He even had us trained to lay out his big stuffed platypus on the floor so he could be with us while we watched movies.

Sparky was always willing to pose for us. What a photogenic pup. I'm glad I have all the happy memories with him. He really was a great dog. I'm going to miss you. You were a good boy.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Flashback Friday #250

The Hayride

Greetings one & all. Yes, It is really me. This isn't a trained chimp pounding on the keyboard. Well, maybe it is. You'll have to keep reading to really find out.

Annnnyway, as I alluded to in my last Flashback Friday post, this post entails the trickery of my best friend Bart and the fast one he pulled on me. I have never forgotten and thank him frequently.

In late October, Bart asked me if I would like to go on a hayride with his family on Saturday. I hadn't been on a hayride in years and enjoyed the last one I was on. He told me that there would hot dogs, cider, and desserts galore. If you know me in real life, you know I love desserts galore. I told him that I'd go. He even made arrangements for me to stay the night at his house.

His folks picked me up about 4PM and we made the drive to Ashley, where the hayride was being held. We we got there, there were lots of people there and he introduced me around. There were folks from every age range and there were even some girls around my age. It was looking better all the time. Oh, and he didn't exaggerate about the eats.

I played football, tag, and played all through the barn on the property. I was having a really good time. The hayride wasn't slated until after dark. Several bales of hay were thrown in the back of a semi trailer and we would ride on the trailer. It was a flatbed trailer with sides, so nobody would fall off.

As night was falling, Bart told me that everyone was gathering around a bonfire before setting out on the hayride. With that he sprinted off and disappeared into the crowd. When I got up to the fire. A man said that we were going to sing a few songs before we left. I was expecting something like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" or "My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean" Boy, was I ever in for a surprise. They started sing CHURCH songs.Bart knew that I wanted nothing to do with church and he had tricked me into attending a church function. I was steaming mad. I spotted Bart across the fire. He smiled real big at me. I mouthed the word "You'll Pay" to him as I hit him with a killer gaze.

After the singing, we piled into the semi trailer. I then found out the we weren't just going around the block, but the truck was heading to Mt. Vernon with all the kids. The parents would pick the kids up at the church. Bart told me that the driver would drop us off at his house on the way.

When we got to his house, and were beginning to settle in, his mom asked me "Would you like to go to church with us in the morning?" I glanced at Bart. I thought to myself, "I'm staying in their house, I'll be eating their food. What am I going to say? "No, take me home." I slowly exhaled and reluctantly said "Yeah, I'll go." But I promise you, my heart wasn't into it. As I laid down to go to sleep, I had no idea of the life changing events that awaited me.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Where Have I Been?

Hello. Yes I know you haven't heard from me for a while. I didn't fall off the edge of the Earth (or get swallowed by Facebook. I still don't have or want an account).

There have been LOTS of things going on around here, but I just haven't had the groove to post about them. I know there's much to catch you up with. I'll try to do some of that in this post.

Earlier this year, My dad was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). It makes a lot of sense seeing his struggles over the last two years.He fell multiple times and one day he just couldn't walk. Doctors attributed this to knees that no longer had any cartilage and he had a knee replacement. As he continued to weaken, Mom thought that perhaps he had suffered another stroke. As the doctors ran their tests for stroke, the diagnosis of ALS came. This man who was a strong carpenter now cannot even feed himself.

While watching the deterioration of my dad, I also watched the deterioration of my Mother-In-Law. She had been in the nursing home several years battling with Parkinson's Disease, Emphysema, Diabetes, Congestive Heart Failure and a laundry list of other ailments. She was a WWII US Navy veteran and a dear saint of God. Many people joke and have nasty things to say about their in-laws. I grew to love her. She went home to her reward in May. I miss her but seeing her struggle like she did, I wouldn't wish her back. She's in a much better place.

We also lost our beloved PT cruiser. We were in an accident (nobody was hurt) and the body shop said it would cost $2700  to fix it. The other driver's insurance would pay for it, so they totaled it out for $3500. I still don't see the sense in that. You won't pay $2700 but you will pay $3500? If I was a shareholder, they would, as Ricky Ricardo would say "Have some 'splainin' to do".
This is the PT with a play house that we bought at a yard sale. The hatch wouldn't close so we had to bungee cord it down. After the accident, the hatch wouldn't open, neither would the back passenger door. :-(

I am still fighting Workman's Comp over the injury to my left shoulder. I hurt it at work over a year ago. They've ruled that the injury was "pre-existing" and had nothing to do with the fall I had. How can something  be pre-existing if you never injured it before? Grrrrr.

We also had a scare with my mom. She was hospitalized with arrhythmia. She has rheumatoid arthritis and it affected her heart. She also has to have both knees replaced as she is bone-on-bone with both of them.

I'm sure I've overlooked several things but at this present time, I can't think of what they might be. I'm sure my wife will let me know what I've forgotten.  

Friday, February 7, 2014

Flashback Friday #249

Starting 11th Grade

Greetings to all and welcome back.

In today's post, I become an upperclassman. 11th grade was a good year for me. The vast majority of my older antagonist has graduated and a fresh start awaited me. Plus I had a good core of friends that also were returning.

When we were making out our schedules in the spring of our Sophomore year, I told Bart to try to pull a fast one on the office staff. Bart had taken Home Ec. I in his Sophomore year. I had taken Home Ec. I in my Freshman year and Home Ec. II in my Sophomore year. I told him to put down Home Ec. III on his schedule so we could be in the same class. He did, and we got to be in the same class, even though he hadn't taken Home Ec. II. Toni and Carol were also in that class with us.

Bart and I had most of our classes together. We were still "Best Friends" (at least in my mind) and liked a lot of the same things. He had recently started going with a girl he went to church with named Cheryl. She was a senior at our school and a cousin to his ex-girlfriend, Dawn. She was different than most of the other girls, except for Dawn, as she always dressed in skirts and dresses. Some of the other girls occasionally wore skirts, but she and Dawn wore them ALL the time.

Even though I had my driver's license, I still rode the bus to school (bummer). Seeing that we were down to only one car, as Dad's green Cadillac had bitten the dust, my parents needed it to get back and forth to work in Westerville. Since I was one of the "older" kids on the bus, I hung out at the back. The 40 minute ride to school and the hour & half ride home was still the same.

There were wonderful things awaiting for me this coming year. The MOST wonderful thing that happened will be discussed in my next post.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Flashback Friday #248

Getting My Driver's License

Hello, all. Long time no see. I'm not going to get into why I was gone. I'm here again and that's all that matters.

As you can see from my title, this was a big day for me. Actually, it was a big four days. "Four days?", you may ask. Yes, let me explain.

I had driven many hours with Mom & Dad and it was time for me to go take my driver's test. Dad let me drive to our county seat. When we parked, we went into the Highway Patrol office to sign up. When it was my turn, a hulking officer escorted me out to our car. As I was backing out of the parking space, he barked "Stop the car!". Startled, I did. He said if I continued the course I was backing, I would scrape the car next to us. Oh boy. What a beginning.

He took me on some of the side streets And while driving, he would say "Turn left." or "Turn right." After one of the "Turn left." commands, he said, "We'll head back to the office now. You failed to stop at that stop sign back there." I didn't remember any stop sign. I figured if I argued with him, he could make my life very miserable. When we got back, I took the manuverability test. I was so rattled that I failed it miserably.

My second attempt went just about as good. I went left of center (I can't imagine that) and my second driver's test was toast. Ditto for the parking test. When I told a couple of my friends of the troubles that I had, they said that they had heard that the officer there didn't like giving driver's licenses to guys because he believed taht all guys want to hot-rod around. That was enough for me. I talked to my folks and we decided that we would go to a neighboring county to take my test the next time.

Now it was time to take my test again. third times the charm, right? When we got to the Highway Patol post, a very nice female officer took me out for my test. She questioned why I went out of county to take my test. I told her of my struggles with the big, burley officer. She smiled and said "I hope I don't make you nervous like that." She didn't. I passed the driving test, but once again, I failed the parallel parking test. Once again I headed back to the Highway Patrol office. I had already passed my driving test, so all I had to do was to take the parking test. No pressure or anything, but if you fail to get your license after four attempts, your driver's permit is invalidated and you have to start all over again. This time, I did pass and it was time to get my picture taken. When I got my license, I didn't care for the picture on it (who does?), but that didn't matter. I had my driver's license. Woo Hoo!!!