Friday, May 18, 2018

We took a little celebratory trip over the weekend,

the Yard Man and I (several weeks ago).  It had been four and a half decades since the day we both said, "I do" to the man who asked us if we did (He happened to be my uncle, but he had power vested in him by the state of Virginia [and he had God and witnesses to assist him in his assignation of the roles of "husband" and "wife"]).

Because of various circumstances, we couldn't spend our celebratory weekend too far from home, so we went to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.   En route, we came upon Roadside America.  This, Reader Dear, is a tourist spot straight out of the 1950s!   If you have ever been to this attraction, please know that nothing has changed here since you last visited!  It looks the way it did when you were a child  (I'd be happy to wager a bet):

On our way into the place, we had asked a couple coming out if their visit had been worth the ticket price. 

"Oh, yeah," said the man.   "And make sure you stop at the gift shop for a cheeseburger! They're outta this world!"

Well, then, indeed,  the Yard Man had to have one!   And that's how we also got served a long and entertaining history of Roadside America from the one who had cooked the burgers (and sometimes single-handedly cooked the burgers and run the whole place) ever since there was nothing vintage about it.

"Thank you, thank you!" I said as we left.  "You should write a book!" 

The next morning (after our arrival in Bethlehem and our night there)  in the hotel lobby I noticed four men all dressed alike.  Insignias on their shirts were barber poles.  "Aha," I exclaimed.  "You're here for a barber's convention!"

"Not quite," one of them responded.  "But you're close!"   Dear Reader, turns out they were a barbershop quartet, in town for a competition.   I wheedled for a sample, of course.  Don't you know,  Reader Dear,  how I wheedled.   And they laughed, but then proclaimed their undying love for me in song!

"Thank you, thank you!" I said as they left.  "You're sure to win the competition!*"

*I didn't say a word about their unrequited love;
I winked at to the Yard Man
He gave me a winning smile.


Wednesday, May 16, 2018

I Think I Must Have

eaten too many commas, Reader Dear, in the recent past.  There have been so many long pauses between these blog posts.  But now, here is another:

Before I finish that tale of the next-door auction,  I'm just going to show you a few cheer-producing items I've seen during the past several weeks.  The weather in my neck of the woods has been so exceedingly dreary lately that any bright spot of color makes me happy!

On a rare sunny day I was pleased as punch to see this random car in the mall parking lot, its color a perfect match to the spring-green leaves on the tree above it!

For this photo there is an easy explanation.  Yellow gladdens my heart like no other color!

Here, Listener Dear, I enjoyed a Hawaiian-themed evening, bright with leis and authentic Hawaiian song! 

And this:

Lunch with a friend at a great little Asian place.
Colored my day bright in more ways than one!

More to follow
(trust me on this, Reader Dear).

Monday, April 23, 2018

Do you recall, Dear Reader,

This blog post in which I was working diligently to divest myself of excess items not needed for daily living and yet stubbornly lodged in my home?  Keep it in mind.

Well, the neighbors down the hill were having an auction of their house and many of their worldly possessions (They are now at a retirement home).  The auctioneer erected several very large tents and other preparations were made for the big event.  Would it be possible, our neighbors had requested,  for them to use the Yard Man's horse meadow for parking during the auction? The Yard Man had generously said yes. Early in the morning on auction day he put his horses in the barn and disconnected the electric fence.  Cars were directed in a round-about route via our driveway, around the barn and into the meadow.

I didn't have to worry about parking, of course.  I could just stroll down through the meadow.

But, Don't go! I counseled myself.

It so happened that we have other neighbors who were providing food for this auction.  It was a fundraiser for the medical bills of their child who had a catastrophic illness.  Obviously, I wanted to support that effort.  Obviously, too, I wanted some of that yummy grilled chicken, ham and bean soup, chicken-corn soup, some of those whoopie pies, apple and shoofly pies.   So now you can see that I simply had to go. (Dear Reader, please say that you can).

I walked down through the meadow to the auction.

But, Don't get a bidding number! I told myself.

All morning I had been listening to this:

Birds twittering and the rhythmic sounds of the auctioneer.  You likely can't hear it, Listener Dear, but I could sometimes make out the words "A dollar, a dollar, a dollar, who'll give me a dollar?"  
 Dear me, suppose I were to forego a bidding number and lose out on a one-dollar bargain for lack of it?!

Doll Babies Awaiting the Auction Block

  I got a number.

But, Don't bid on anything!  I gave myself a strict injunction.

Well, then, Reader best to explain it?  There were tables and tables and tables filled with household goods.  To most of it I could easily say "no".  And there was absolutely and without a doubt not one single item that I needed!

To be continued...

Thursday, April 19, 2018

No sooner did I saturate

the ground with Ted's Y2K water and tell you about it, Reader Dear, than I got a call from one of Ted's nephews.

"You wanted to hear from me if anything happened to Uncle Ted.  I found him yesterday in the little house where he's been living.  He was unconscious.  At the hospital they told us he'd suffered a massive stroke.  They don't expect him to live."   

Oh, Reader Dear.  It was unexpected!  I had thought, you know, that I would go and visit him in his new location.  I knew he'd be pleased to see me.

"I'm so sorry," I said.  "Do keep me informed.  If he comes back to awareness, I would like to send him something."

Saying goodbye to Ted at move-out

"Oh, that's not at all likely to happen," he told me.   
"But I'll let you know," he said.

Then Ted left this world.


When the nephew's wife called to inform me of his passing, she said that Ted had specified in his funeral plans  he did not want a service of any kind.  I knew, of course, that the grave site was chosen long ago.  The stone with his name had already been marking the spot for years.  Ted's final resting place would be in a small cemetery just four or five miles from where he'd spent so much time earning his "Best Ever" tenant award.

But if there was to be no service or ceremony, then that was that, I supposed.  I was a little disappointed not to pay my last respects.


I found another man to rent Ted's former space (and I didn't try to make it happen, but he's got the same given name!)

"I can come to sign the lease on Thursday, " New Tenant said, "Would 12:15 be okay?"

"Very good," I said.  "Yes." 

That evening I got a call.  It was Ted's nephew.  "The funeral home is going to put  Uncle Ted's body in the ground tomorrow, Thursday.  Two or three of us are going to be there.  There isn't going to be a ceremony, but you are welcome to come.  The undertaker said to be there at 1:00."

" Thank you!" I responded.
"I would really like to be there."

And so it was that I purchased some potted flowers and went straight from giving away Ted's former living space, to viewing Ted's final resting place.

The cold wind and rain made the ten-minute committal to the ground a rather less than pleasant affair.  My umbrella was blown inside out, and it was difficult to have any conversation with Ted's three family members.

As we were all preparing to leave (earth was going to be moved at a later time) I went to my car and got the flowers.

I set the hyacinth and the dahlia beside Ted's stone and said quietly,  
"May you rest in peace, dear Best Ever tenant.  You've got a far better landlord now than I'll ever be--never a rate increase, and a never-ending lease!"

With a tiny lump in my throat I got in my car, turned on my windshield wipers,  and drove away.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Water water

but not a drop that I wanted to drink.

Here, Reader Dear, is a little tale I'm going to tell on Ted.  (You know, the tenant with the "best ever" award whom I just described to you).

When he left his home of twenty years (the apartment that is now empty), his nephews brought a U-haul-type trailer and loaded up all the boxes and bins and bags of his possessions that he had so neatly packed.  They emptied the basement storage unit of most everything.

However, there were cases of water stacked along the walls.

"Shall we take those with us?" one of Ted's nephews offered.  "Or..."  He hesitated.

"Oh, just leave them,"  I said.  I knew their trailer was packed full and they were worn out from all the lifting and toting of Ted's furniture.
So the water sat in the otherwise empty storage unit for months while I dragged my feet on re-renting.  It's difficult to find good renters during the Christmas season.  And then came the snows of winter.  Eventually there came the departure of the renter with "worst ever" award and all that that entailed.  Now I had two apartments to fill.  I got busy and advertised.    

It was time to deal with the water!

It was only then that I pondered why Ted would want to have a total of twenty-five gallon jugs of water plus two cases of smaller water bottles.  Why would he stockpile water?

Dear Viewer, look at the date on this gallon of water and tell me that you recall a time when everyone was going a little crazy, thinking the world as we knew it was about to end!  Computers were all going to crash!  Everything was going to go haywire!  At the stroke of midnight on December 31, 1999, there would be worldwide chaos!

It was Y2K!*

Ted had stockpiled water and held it for eighteen years!

It's true, Reader Dear. All the gallons were bottled in 1998 or 1999! 

Dear Reader, I chose a relatively warm and sunny day to deal with those bottles of vintage water.  I figured that water would never really "expire" but I had no wish to drink water that was stored in plastic for nearly two decades.  And I couldn't lift those cartons.

It took me forty-five minutes working non-stop to empty and crush the bottles.  It wasn't such a bad job, really; and, as I performed the task, I thought about Ted and was grateful he never had to break open his stash of life-giving liquid!  Happy for all the rest of us water-drinkers, as well!

*The fear was that all of the computers that everyone depended on would malfunction. People also feared that our luxuries would be destroyed and that we would revert back to living like the olden days without any electricity, heat or running water. They called this the great Y2K scare. The scare consisted of the fear that the entire computer systems were going to fail on New Year's Eve 1999