Thursday, August 28, 2014


In the tiny town of Cumming, Georgia, only fattened by urban sprawl, sits the local KRYSTAL. It could just as well have been any other chain drive thru, all small towns have their local hangouts, and this one is certainly no different.

I have been coming to Krystal’s infrequently since I moved to Sugar Hill a few years ago. Most times I have business in the area, if not I invent some just to stop in and have a favorite breakfast of mine; 3 eggs, grits, wheat toast, bacon, with extra bacon, and a reasonably good cup of coffee. I order, sit down, and the clerk of the day brings it to my table, usually quickly, and usually correctly, if not I eat what they bring. That is my way of dealing with life’s little challenges.

I have never tried to interact with the locals, although through unintended eavesdropping I have learned much about this same little cluster of community life. Ole Walter quit selling Fords at the dealership and spends more time fixin’ up the old home place, his Daddy would be proud. Arnold should quit his job, he is the danged best fiddler this side of Nashville, maybe further. Shorty is in the hospital again with a tumor; hope it ain’t as bad as the last one.
All the daily matters that are important to that click, but foreign to anyone more than 10 feet away. 

 Hal is probably the one I noticed most. One reason is that in error I parked in “HIS” spot once and heard about it in tones louder than usual and meant for me to hear. ‘His’ spot was the best parking place on the lot, right next to the door, with a low curbing, making it easy and quick for him to help his Mamma out of the car and into the comforts of the restaurant. For some reason the Handicap parking was a good 6 spaces away from the door. The particular morning that I arrived before Hal and parked in that space, I could feel the eyes of the group on me. I just figured my pants were unzipped again (something that happens more often than I want to admit).
“He’s in Hal’s spot. His Mamma is gonna have to walk A MILE.”
“He’s that new fella that comes around every so often. Guess he don’t know the parking arrangements here.”
“He don’t know no better, wonder what he does with all that JUNK on the back of his truck?”

That was sort of the way it went that morning. So for the first time I paid attention to this Hal when he entered, lovingly assisting his Mother in every way as he directed her to their tables, made the rounds of ‘Good Mornings” and went back to order their meals. I paid attention because Hal mentioned that he was a few minutes late and somebody’s old truck was in his spot. This was accentuated by the heat of the stares that I knew were being sent my way. From then on I made sure to park far enough away as not to be in the way of the 'old folks.'

I also starting paying attention to Hal and his Mamma. I am in my mid 60’s, but she seemed to be ancient. I think I heard 95 or 96 at one time referring to her. She was frail but full of life. She always greeted each of the group by name, asked about their kin, and when asked about her health, “She was still kicking, just not as high!” I do not recall ever hearing about her aches or pains, just local gossip. If she had any pains, she already knew about those, she wanted to hear what she didn’t know.

Being this outside observer let me absorb the local culture without having to learn names, birth dates, addresses, and all that other stuff that goes along with it. They are a kind bunch and when Hal walked in that morning alone and dropped that load on us, there was not a person there who did not shed a tear, including me, and I do not even know Mamma’s name.

I think I might introduce myself next time I drop in.

Monday, August 25, 2014


We were blessed(?) to have received a dachshund puppy a few weeks ago. The phase, "Time flies when you're having fun." does not always apply here. Don't get me wrong, she is a puppy and to boot a doxie, which makes her doubly adorable. Her registered name at the vet's office is Coco Cook, but around the house she mostly answers to Hell Hound or more aptly, Pee Pee Head!
My Janet is a very thorough person and researched everything about this breed. The one recurring theme was that they are stubborn and hard to house train. Looking into those beautiful, big brown eyes, I naively asked, "How hard could it be to train a 4lb. cute little puppy?" The answer: more than you thought! Oh,and as I have found out, those are lying eyes!
Janet went on-line and bought a book about dachshunds and the 'proper' way to train them. Well that is about as useful as how to train children(I am still waiting for that 10 volume set to come out), but, Bless her Heart, Janet tried.
THE CRATE METHOD says to feed her, put her in her very small crate, wait approximately 20-30 minutes and take her outside to do her business. If nothing happens in about 10 minutes, take her back to her crate, wait 10 minutes and repeat this process until she does her business. when she accomplishes this she can then be 'trusted' to play around in the house, having related freedom to pooping/peeing outside means free range of the house. This was evidently written by an evil dachshund who possessed opposable thumbs. Our little bundle of joy would do her business outside, run around the house a few minutes, then, while staring us in the eyes, squat and poop again, as if to say, "Let's get this straight, I make the rules around here." BACK IN THE CRATE! Now as unpleasant as that was, it was the jumping up on the sofa and peeing that almost sent out the 9-1-1 call to save that dog's life. We have a mini-carpet cleaner for the floor, but Janet's sofas are sacred. All I can say is, THANK GOD FOR SCOTCHGARD, or there would be a suspicious, albeit, small mound it the backyard under the Crepe Myrtle tree. Janet tried to circumvent part of the problem by putting old quilts on the sofa and love seat until the 'training' took effect. We washed 2 quilts a night the first week!
THE PEE PADS! This was my ante into the poker game, a game we were unwittingly playing against a 'Sharp', as the were known in the Old West. They must work, I thought stupidly to myself. They have them in the pet aisle of every major food store. They even have them in 'store brands' which means they are big sellers. Never equate being a big sellers to a product that works. The instructions say to place the pad near an exit door, put the pet on it and let it smell it, as it is treated with a chemical that makes the dog want to do its business. I would love to buy a spray bottle of that stuff(I know some People I would spray it on, but that's just me). Then after a few times of your dog going to the pads, remove it to just outside the door, and keep moving it until you are in a suitable outside area for the dog(more instruction written by that evil doxie). I put Coco(a.k.a. Pee Pee Head) down on the pad that I had so neatly and lovingly spread on the hardwood floor at the front door. Like a little angel she stood there, looked up at me with those beautiful brown(again LYING) eyes, reached over and grabbed a corner of the pad in her mouth and took off running through the house, head held high, pad flapping in the wind like a banner, looking very much like she was the victorious general in a grand game of Capture the Flag! It is hard to be mad and laugh at the same time.
A few days ago, Janet sent me an e-mail while she was at work, saying that a patient had told her to try "Doggie Diapers". This had worked for her small dog and should work for us. Apparently that lady has no experience with our particular bred. On the way home that day, Janet stopped by Petsmart and bought a packet of the diapers. They looked all the world like diapers for newborns with the exception for a hole to allow the tail to poke through. Our plan was that after feeding her in the evening, taking her out to do her business, then bring her in, put on the diaper and let her run and play at will, hoping that she would associate this with proper toilet training, and at best, not soil our furniture.
This was one of those moments when you look back and say, "Damn, why didn't I film this?" We put Coco on the counter in the kitchen, and while Janet did her best to hold that 4lbs. of dynamite still, my part of this comedy act was to thread the tail moving a blurring speed into the tiny hole and then attach to tabs to the diaper as are normally held in place. The first couple of tries, Coco whipped the diaper out of my hands with that little brown rapier known as a tail. At one point I had the diaper held with my teeth while I held her hind legs with on hand and her tail with the other---instant problem, not enough hands! Finally, between the two of us, we managed to get it on her. When we stood her up on the counter, we both broke into simultaneous laughter. That poor dog looked like a Rap singer with his pants hanging down, it was pitiful. So it was back to the operating table. The second attempt managed to get the diaper on properly and looking pretty good. Janet put Coco on the floor and off that little dog ran and within a distance of less than 10 feet, had that diaper in her mouth, playing Round 2 of Capture the Flag.
Does anyone know where I can buy a doggie diaper made like Lederhosen???

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


They step on your toes and tug on your heart strings. They will tug on your wallet, too. They will even drive you to the poor house if you let them, all the while charging the gas for the trip on your credit card.
Well, of course, grand kids put "the touch" on Grandparents, that's why we are here, that and to fill them with sugar and send them home wound up tight. When we were kids we could always count to Grandma and Grandpa to see to the 'extras' that we needed in life.
With schools opening around the state now and in the next few days, there naturally has been a buying frenzy for all those needed, as well as, not needed, school supplies. Like kids of every generation, everyone wants to be cool and have all the things that the "in" kids have. Coming from a reserved and conservative home, my grandchild not come close to all the cool stuff.
Not to be deterred, the call went out. "Hey, Grandpa, whatca doin'"? The child might as well have said, "Grandpa, could you e-mail me your card number, expiration date, and don't forget the security code!"
After a little chit chat about the life of a retired guy and new school, new grade, new friends, it got down to business.
"Grandpa, you remember when you were and high school and wanted all the latest improvements?"
"Oh, you mean like an ELECTRIC typewriter?"
"A type-what, oh never mind. You know what an ipad is don't you?'
"Well of course, I used one not too long ago."
"Weeeelllllll, it sure would be nice if I had one. All the kids are getting them and Momma just won't buy me one, but she said it was OK if I asked you.
"I can't understand your Mother not getting you something as important as an eye pad. You say all the kids are using them?"
"They sure are, and I just know you don't want me to look funny if I show up without one."
"Personally, I think you would look funny WITH one, but you kids are sure different these days. I mail you one today, honey, love you, bye."
That was THREE WEEKS AGO and that little ingrate has yet to text me a thank you or anything. What is wrong with children today?!?!

Saturday, August 2, 2014


Here is another "fractured fairy tale" for you to enjoy(I hope).

There once was a giant who lived on the top of a mountain(ain't that the way it always is). Down in the valley below was a village of below average little people, known as the Kingdom of TRID.

Now as this giant would move around on the top of his mountain, doing whatever it is that giants do to past the time of day, he would occasionally dislodge a boulder that would roll down the mountain side and squash a villager or two.

As you can imagine, this was very disconcerting to the villagers, so they called a town meeting to decide what to do. Since no one would volunteer, it was decided that they would draw straws to see who would confront the giant and ask him to stop.   

The next morning, the poor chap who drew the short straw made his way up the mountain. When he arrived at top, he found the giant and began to tell him why he was there. After the villager finish, the giant drew back his huge foot and kicked the hapless villager of the mountain and to his doom.

The town council decided to try again to negotiate with the giant, but this time send 2 villagers. Again the giant quietly listened to the request, then when the finished, he kicked them both off the mountain.

Undeterred, 10 messengers were sent, kicked off, 20 were sent, kicked off, until finally, the Church got involved.

An envoy of 30 Trids(villagers) and their priest marched up to the giant. Upon hearing the same old request, the giant booted all 30 villagers off his mountain.

After the dust settled, all that was left was the lone holy man facing the giant. With up stretched arms, the priest cried out in a loud, albeit, small voice, "Why? Why? Why? Why have you booted off all the villagers, yet left me alone?"

With a very large grin on his face, the giant bent way, way down until he was almost nose to nose with the little man and said those familiar words we all know:

"Silly Rabi, Kicks are for Trids!!!"