Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Growing Up Ralph - The Lunch Box

(SPECIAL NOTE: After I wrote the following story, I realized my Grandpa was one of many people I have known who has left this world. That’s a sad fact. Equally sad is to realize that when many people leave they take with them stories about their life that others may not know or remember - their “history” if you will.

So, I decide to start doing sporadic posts about my youth, teen years, and young adult life. Realizing I may only have 30 – 40 years left, I decided to start now. The posts about my younger years will be titled ‘Growing Up Ralph’.

I want to capture some of these stories for my kids, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and future generations. Hopefully, they will read them, set back in their chair, and say, “So...he really was as crazy as everyone says!”)

The meeting was over and the Park’s Superintendent was walking me out of the building. As we crossed one of the rooms, I noticed a display case. Inside the case was a black metal lunch box and a brass plaque that I couldn’t read from across the room. “Tell me about that lunch box.” I asked.

Well, the lunch box belonged to the town’s first parks superintendent. He never missed a day’s work from the time he became superintendent until he retired. It also seems like every day he had the exact same think for lunch: a bologna and cheese sandwich, a handful of chips, an apple and a candy bar. The parks superintendent stated, “He was the best parks superintendent this town has ever had, including me. That lunch box is a symbol of reliability and consistency.”

As I walked outside, I flashed back to when I was five years old. I was setting on the porch of my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Like most five year olds, I loved spending the night with Grandpa and Grandma.

My Grandpa was a mechanic and from what I’ve heard a really good one. Every night he would pull into the driveway at the exact same time. When I spent the night, I would set out on the front porch and wait for him. Once he pulled into the driveway all the “action” took place.

I greeted him as soon as he got out the car. He always had a smile and a lunch box. He would ask if you wanted to carry the lunchbox for him. Of course, you did.

Then somewhere between the driveway and the house, he would say those magic words, “You know, you might want to check in that lunch box and see if there’s anything left.”

It might be a candy bar, a pack of gum, or a few pieces of candy but there was always something. And, it was always delivered to you in that black metal lunch box.

Maybe those black metal lunch boxes are a sign of reliability and consistency – or at least as much as a five year old needed.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday Funnies

Two 6-year-old boys were attending a religious school and giving the teachers problems. The teachers had tried everything to make them behave - time outs, notes home, missed recesses - but could do nothing with them. Finally, the boys were sent to see the priest.

The first boy went in and sat in a chair across the desk from the priest. The priest asked, "Do you know where God is?" The little boy just sat there.

The priest stood up and asked again, "Son, do you know where God is?" The little boy trembled but said nothing.

The priest leaned across the desk and again asked, "Do you know where God is?"

The little boy bolted out of the chair ran past his friend in the waiting room, all the way home. He got in bed and pulled the covers up over his head. His friend who had followed him home asked, "What happened in there?"

The boy replied, "God is missing and they think we did it!"

Monday, October 22, 2007

24 Hours

A lot can happen in the span of twenty-four hours. The following two pictures were taken twenty-four hours apart.

This is the last rose blossom of the season. This yellow rose started blooming early in the spring and continued through the summer months. You might notice the grass in the background is still a deep, dark green. This picture was taken last Saturday.

This is the same rose twenty-four hours later. You might notice in the background all that @#$% white stuff. It’s called snow. Yep, we got our first snow on Sunday.

As you can imagine I am pretty excited. The thought of shoveling the driveway, scraping car windows, trying to stay warm, and of course, paying the heating bill is just thrilling me. It’s going to be a long winter.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Sunday Funnies

An atheist was taking a walk through the woods, admiring all that evolution had created.

"What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!” he said to himself. As he was walking along the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. When he turned to see what the cause was, he saw a 7-foot grizzly charging right towards him. He ran as fast as he could. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing,

He ran even faster. Again, he looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. His heart was pounding and he tried to run even faster. He tripped and fell on the ground. He rolled over to pick himself up, but saw the bear right on top of him, and raising his right paw to strike him.

At that moment, the Atheist cried out "Oh my God!...."

Time stopped. The bear froze. The forest was silent. Even the river stopped moving.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky, "You deny my existence for all of these years; teach others I don’t exist; and even credit creation to a cosmic accident. Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but perhaps could you make the bear a Christian?"

"Very well," said the voice.

The light went out. The river ran again. And the sounds of the forest resumed.

And then the bear dropped his right paw ..... brought both paws together...bowed his head and spoke: "Lord, for this food which I am about to receive, I am truly thankful."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Interstate Popcorn

For me it started years and years ago with a young girl standing on the porch waving a box of thin mint cookies wildly in the air while talking a hundred miles a minute. I thought if I bought a box of cookies it might calm her down.

Ever since then these young entrepreneurs have shown up with cookies, popcorns, tire gauges, coupon books, bastings brushes, magazines, Christmas ornaments, and frozen pastries to name a few of the items they are selling for one fund raisers for another.

Have you ever noticed how polite they are compared to the “adult” sales people in store? Most of the young ones say ‘thank you’ even if you don’t buy something (which for me, is rare).

Another thing, at least around our neighborhood, most of the kids know I’m a pretty easy mark. They know if I don’t buy right away I’ll cave when they start the high-pressure sales tactics.

Well, word is getting out. Just a few days ago, I bought popcorn from a young friend of mine. Not a big deal except he’s a thousand miles away. The sales call went like this:

Me: So, how are you doing?
Young Entrepreneur: Fine.
Me: I hear your selling popcorn.
Young Entrepreneur: Yeah.
Me: So what’s your favorite kind?
Young Entrepreneur: I really like Mud Puddles.
Me: Okay, here’s the deal. I’ll buy a tin of Mud Puddles. You keep the popcorn and I’ll send you a check. Does that sound okay?
Young Entrepreneur: Okay. Thank You.

I’ve never been able to stand up to that kind of pressure.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Easy Way

There is absolutely no easy way to say this. I got my butt rub from Cliff.
It arrived yesterday in a plain brown package. Evidently, Cliff didn’t want it to get misplaced with our other mail so he was kind enough to write the following message on the outside of the package in bold letters:
1) Gently rub in
2) I hope your wife likes this.

I am sure every mail carrier in two states wanted to open that package to see what was inside. I just wonder if we’ll be getting mail the rest of the week.

The downside of Butt Rub is it comes with very few directions. So, I had to figure it out on my own. First, I figured with a name like Butt Rub it was one those “if a little is good, a lot must be better” things. I was right.

Secondly, it really doesn’t say how to apply it. Given the name, I thought a circular motion seemed appropriate. Again, I was right.

I tried it last night and have to admit it’s pretty good stuff. After dinner, I was out front talking to a neighbor. He did give me a rather strange look when I casually mentioned we had butt rubbed chicken for dinner.

Stop by my Butt Rub booth at Blogstock ’08 – you’ll be glad you did.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Sunday Funnies

A little boy wanted $100 badly and prayed for two weeks but nothing happened.

Then he decided to write God a letter requesting the $100. When the postal authorities received the letter addressed to God, USA, they decided to send it to President Bush.

The President was so impressed, touched, and amused that he instructed his secretary to send the little boy a $5.00 bill.

President Bush thought this would appear to be a lot of money to a little boy.

The little boy was delighted with the $5.00 and sat down to write a thank you note to God, which read:

Dear God,
Thank you very much for sending the money, however, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington D.C. and, as usual, those crooks kept 95% of it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Know it's Early But. . .

. . . it’s time for my annual rant. This picture was taken on September 26th. I was walking through a store that had a least five aisles of Halloween “stuff”. Okay, Halloween is a month away I can live with that. But, once you got past the Halloween items, there were already eight aisles full of Christmas “stuff”. Christmas is still three months away.

Once again Thanksgiving is over looked. Where was all the Thanksgiving stuff? I did happen to find some plastic salt and pepper shakers shaped like turkeys at one of the check out stand. There was one box of them.

So, I decided to explore why Thanksgiving is so overlooked. It’s pretty obvious once you do the math. These figures came from a few clicks on the internet. The figure for Christmas is the most conservative one. One site had the Christmas figure almost doubled. These figures show what is spent on the holidays in America. There was not a lot detail as to what was purchased.

Halloween . . . . . .$5,000,000,000 (yes, billion with a B)
Thanksgiving . . . . . . $54,000,000
Christmas . . . . $132,000,000,000

It’s no wonder the Christmas decorations come out earlier and earlier every year. Remember, large expensive gifts. . .it’s the reason for the season.

This year I think I’ll splurge on Thanksgiving and get us a Butterball turkey.