Y'all come on in!

Y'all come on in!

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Rules...

It's been a long time since our two daughters were dating age and several of the granddaughters have passed over from dating to marriage. But there are still a couple of granddaughters who are in that age when boys have become very important. So being the good father-in-law that he is, Mr. B is passing on the list of rules that he used when our daughters were that age. Some of them are a little politically incorrect and out of date but I do believe they can be adjusted to fit the day and time.

Rule One: If you pull into my driveway and honk you had better be delivering a package because you are sure not picking up anything. Get out of the car, come into the  house, sit with me for fifteen minutes and then I might let you walk her outside. Be sure to open the door for her, both house and car.

Rule Two: Do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you can't keep your eyes and hands off her, I can and will remove them.

Rule Three: I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so that they appear to be falling off their hips. I want to be fair and open minded about this so I propose a compromise. You may come into my home with your underwear showing and pants six sizes too big and I will not say a word. However, to insure that aforementioned pants do not fall completely off your bony butt, you will not whimper when I use a nail gun to fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four: I'm sure that you've been told that in this modern world, sex without utilizing a "barrier method" can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to that issue, I am the barrier and I will kill you if that thought even crosses your mind.

Rule Five: It's usually understood for a potential boyfriend and a father to get to know each other they should talk about sports, politics, religion and other important topics. Not so. The only information I require of you is when I can expect to have my daughter back safely at my house and the only word I want to hear is "early."

Rule Six: I have no doubt that you are a popular fellow and could date any girl in town. That is fine but as long as you are dating my daughter you are not free to look at any of those girls until such time as my daughter is done dating you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven: As you sit in my living room with me not six feet away, waiting for my daughter to appear down the hallway, do not sigh and fidget. My little girl is making herself beautiful for you and that process takes longer than painting the Golden Gate bridge with a one inch brush. You are allowed to change the oil in my car or mow my lawn while you wait.

Rule Eight: The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: places where beds, sofas or anywhere with something softer to sit upon than a wooden stool are available; places where there are no parents, policemen or nuns in the same room; places where the temperature is warm enough to entice my daughter to wear anything other than a sweater or a goose down parka zipped up to her neck; movies with strong romantic themes are to be avoided...but those with chain saws are fine. Old folks homes are wonderful places to visit and remember I do own two chain saws.

Rule Nine: Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a pot bellied, balding, middle aged dim-witted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all knowing, merciless god of your universe. If I ask where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel (read rule eight about chain saws) and five acres behind my house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten: Be afraid. Be very afraid. I use the time when you are on your dates to clean my guns. As soon as you exit the car with both your hands in plain sight, I expect you to announce that you have followed all the rules in a loud voice. Walk her to the door and then leave. That camouflaged face in the window is mine and I will be watching.

If you are unable to read these rules and sign this paper stating that you understand them, you can still date my daughter. However, I will be sitting between you kids in the front seat of your car. Enjoy the evening and have a great time.

Friday, April 21, 2017


Two of my grandchildren are graduating from high school this year. They will move the tassels and become the future leaders of our world. Little bit scary, isn’t it?

I’ve never quite understood just how it is that we expect them to grow up overnight. Especially when it took more than the movement of a bunch of long strings to mature us. But it’s a tradition. One second the tassel is on the “kid side” of the cap; the next it’s moved to the “adult side” and magic is supposed to happen.

But that’s not the way it works. Yes, there does come a time when a mama bird kicks the babies out of her nest and they either fly or the tom cat has them for supper. And I guess it is time for these students who know everything and their parents are super dumb to hop out there in the real world of taxes and jobs and responsibilities. They’d sure better learn to fly because the world is full of hungry tom cats.

I can feel them all rolling their eyes at everyone’s advice. After all, they are all super intelligent beings even if they haven’t mastered the art of getting the cap back on the toothpaste and do not have the foggiest notion about how to put toilet paper on a roller or get their dirty laundry into the basket instead of thrown beside it. And forget all about how to start a washing machine or shut a dresser drawer.

So here’s my advice to the whole bunch of you no matter whether you are graduating with more than a thousand students or less than twenty. The place in which you will learn the most probably won’t be in a classroom with a professor lecturing on the effects of the Civil War. It will be in the school of “hard knocks” but don’t worry, if you don’t pass, they don’t send you home. You get another chance and another until you get it right. Remember you come from a long line of survivors (your parents survived raising you so you have good genes) and sometime along the path of life you will figure out that your parents aren’t nearly as stupid as you thought they were.

There is a day of reckoning at the end of every semester if you are in college. It’s called “finals” and “grades”. Even though the results are neither one are put on the movie theater marquis on Main Street, a letter will be mailed to your parents. If they’ve never ever opened one thing addressed to you in the past, they will open that letter. So try to spend a little bit of time with your little nose inside an open book.

The college will not give you knowledge. I don’t know of a college in the world that offers a degree in the ancient art of loafing. Or one in flirting. Or partying. And when you finish school and go to look for a job there is no place on a resume that asks how much experience you’ve had in those areas.

Sometimes you will go back to college after a weekend and there will be no money tucked away in the folded laundry. That’s the week that your car insurance and your cell phone bill were both due, so cinch up your belt and eat in the cafeteria. You will survive for a week without pizza.

There won’t be anyone there to pick up your dirty socks or to wash your favorite shirt in the middle of the week. Don’t be too embarrassed to ask someone how to operate the washing machine (usually located on the lobby floor of the dorm). I’ll even let you in on a secret. There are instructions written on the lid of the washer in most places.

In five or six years you will walk across another stage. Your parents will cry even more at that time than they did at your high school graduation. That’s because after putting you through school, you are all they have left. The savings account is in the red. They’ve got three mortgages on the house. They’ve been working three jobs each and are riding a bicycle to work so that you can drive a car.

So every now and then call home and say, “I love you,” and don’t ask for money. And one last thing. All the advice in the world, be it from Grandpa, Uncle Herman or Great Aunt Gert, will not get you through some situations. You will have to figure out a few things on your own. Good luck and may the turning of the tassel take you on that wonderful journey called life!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ahhh, Spring...

It must be spring!

I've seen some definite signs supporting the theory such as teenagers are flirting more, old men are tilling the garden and all women, young and old, are out shopping for summer clothes and flip flops.

And me, well, that strange illness called spring cleaning has hit me! It doesn't affect me every year--as a matter of fact, I can't remember when I got a dose of it last. Maybe putting new windows in our house caused it. I did ask the doctor if there's a cure or an antibiotic for it and he assured me that it had to run its course so that which I cannot whip, I merely join.

For me, spring cleaning begins in the closets and since the last time I even thought about straightening them was when Moby Dick was a minnow, I almost fainted when I opened the doors of the first one of six in my house.

One does not simply open the doors and dive in with a dust rag, mop and a heaping spoon full of ambition when it comes to real honest-to-goodness bonafide closet cleaning. To make it safe, sterile and sanitary for another ten (or twenty) years, first comes organization.

That means everything is taken out of every single closet in the house, laid on the sofa, the rocking chairs, and even the kitchen table. Then it is organized: those things which I will never wear again or never wore in the beginning (like that sweater Great Aunt Mabel gave me for Christmas in 1972) go in the pile to be taken to that little red donation box at the corner of Main and Twenty Ninth Street. The things that I might wear again (someday I might get into those size 8 jeans, right?) go into a box marked, "Wishful Thinking" to be stored in the shed. Trash is self explanatory and must be double bagged into two big black leaf bags, tied with zip ties that cannot be undone and the ends burned so that Mr. B won't go through them and haul it all back in the house.

Then it's time to sweep the cobwebs, wash down the walls, make sure no little baby spiders are lurking in the corners and get everything clean enough to pass military inspection before the clothing and shoes can be put back in the closets. How the cleaning supplies shrink a closet is beyond my understanding but it happens every single time I clean it. Everything will not go back on the racks and rods, no matter how hard I try. I know I took six bags of trash, two bags of donations and put one box of wishful thinking in the shed this year, so what's the problem here.

Then a little voice in my head reminded me that they sell these under the bed containers so I took the pickup truck to the store and came home with half a dozen of those wonderful items. Then I realized that the bright red sale price was still stuck to the bottom of each one, right over the top of the last four sale stickers. Lord, have mercy! I couldn't leave those on the containers. Someone might come into my house, sneak into my bedroom and find them. I wasn't sure if it was a sin to store things after spring cleaning in containers with stickers on them. I might get banned forever from the grocery store or horror of horrors, from the donut shop. After all if a woman does spring cleaning, she dang sure better be sure that it's done right and stickers on boxes...well, that's walking pretty close to the edge of the cliff.

They had to be removed. I got out the alcohol, razor blades, baby oil, W-D 40 and everything else I could find to take those nasty little critters off my brand new containers. A little voice in my head said there was a possibility that if I didn't get every single bit of the sticky goo that held them fast that there was a possibility the ailment known as spring cleaning might stick around until fall. Now that, dear hearts, is enough to scare any woman half to death. Two days is all any of us can stand!

So there I sat in the middle of the living room floor with clothing, shoes and every imaginable thing that can be shoved or crammed into a closet for ten (or was it twenty) years spread out around me. The price stickers were those things that were made to discourage shop lifting (as if I could shove a container the size of twin bed up under my skirt tail and walk out of the store with it). I just know that written on the back side in small print was a guarantee that if anyone got a whole sticker off without damaging it, they could return it to the company for the full refund of the retail price of three cents.

I scraped. I oiled. I pleaded. I cussed.

They were not going to get the best of me and by midnight there was not a single sticker on any of those boxes. If anyone checked my house, it would pass inspection. The closets were still empty. The house looked like a tornado hit the clothing section of Walmart. But I had perfectly clean, clear boxes to store all my stuff in tomorrow! The next time this spring cleaning bug hits me, I'm buying a bottle of Febreeze (and I don't care if the sticker price shows). I will spray every room in the house...and that will be the extent of my cleaning.

Friday, April 7, 2017


(Disclosure: This is the truth but it all happened before cell phones and GPS, back in the days when telephones had cords and there were no cell towers dotting the landscape. And when folks used plain old paper maps to guide them from one place to the other.)

There wasn't a four-lane turnpike or even a road shown on the Oklahoma map from Caney to Coleman so we asked a lady if there was a little-used back road connecting the two of them.

"Sure," she smiled and pointed off to the left, "you go down here to the first road that turns back west. It will turn into a dirt road after a couple of miles but just stay with it until you go through the bottom. There's a road that goes off to the left...no!" She turned around and put up her hands like they were on a steering wheel (that should have been my first clue) and said, "Don't turn left. Go right on the first road after you go through the bottom. Just keep on that road until you come to a T in the road, make a right at the first one and a left at the second and third ones and you'll come right out in Coleman."

She hurried back into the church where the ladies were cleaning up after a wedding. Mr. B and I'd been there to photograph the wedding so our job was done. Now I can get lost if I go in one door at Walmart and out the other so I'm not a bit of good at following directions so I depend on Mr. B to listen to all the left at the big oak tree and left at the old falling down school.

Mr. B said, "Sounds easy enough to me."

I trusted him but lookin' back there were a lot of back west, turn right, pretend to drive and T's in the road but it was too late to write it all down on the palm of my hand.

We found the first road and turned left. I thought the lady said to turn right at the top of the hill but Mr. B assured me that we hadn't reaching anything that resembled "the bottom" yet and it was there that we were supposed to make the right hand turn. So I held my tongue and hoped there was an open service station where we could get directions on up ahead. We found a flat spot or at least what we figured might be the bottom and made a right hand turn. By that time I was ready to turn around and do our best to retrace our footsteps back to the church and follow the map instead of the lady's directions.

Another mile passed and the dirt road was no more. We were driving on a cow path with grass growing in the middle and craters big enough to hide bury army tanks inside them. I did see a barn but it had collapsed the week after the flood waters receded in Noah's day, and another one where Cochise and Geronimo met up to talk about Mr. Custer. I began to really worry when I saw the skeleton of an overturned covered wagon and realized no one traveled in one of those since Ward Bond took the wagon trains to California. My hands were so sweaty that if I had written down the directions, they'd  have done been smeared to badly to read.

"At least there's electricity poles and lines so there must be civilization somewhere," Mr. B said cheerfully.

"They're only here so the film crew will have power to make sequels to Children of The Corn and Deliverance." I shivered and made sure the car doors were locked. My overactive imagination went into high gear and I pictured a bunch of bare foot fellers in bibbed overalls standing in the middle of the road with double barreled shotguns pointed at us.

By the time we'd turned right on six T's we decided to forget right turns and left turns. We would simply follow the power lines until we came to either Coleman or Hollywood. Maybe we could find our way back home from either of those places.

It was a smart idea because an hour later we were in Coleman, population 253. Thank goodness we had a full tank of gas--there was a convenience store with one gas pump--but the sign on the door said it was closed. We were grateful to see a real highway sign showing us the way Milburn. From there we knew our way home. It might have taken twice as long to get there as it would have if we'd followed a real map but hey, no one kidnapped us and made us eat barbecued 'possum or fricasseed raccoon for breakfast the next morning. So we felt real lucky.

A few weeks ago Mr. B asked me if I'd like to take a drive and see if we could find that road again.

My answer does not bear repeating. I still shiver when I think of what might have happened if we'd made another right turn at the next T in the road.