A piece of candy:
Earlier this month, I was reminded of John D. Rockefeller’s practice of carrying coins in his pocket and handing them out to those he observed being kind, respectful or demonstrating industry. At the funeral of John McCain, Former President George W. Bush (Rep) was sitting next to Michele Obama (wife of Dem. President Obama). Without prompting, Pres. Bush reached over and handed Mrs. Obama a piece of candy, which she readily accepted – both smiled. My thought was that we need to pass a piece of candy to those sitting next to us much more often.
How to change the World: It seems to me that I do a great deal of complaining about the degradation of our society – it is the American way. I think that shows how far I have fallen along with a great many amongest out citizenry.
I recently ran across this video by Admiral William H. McRaven addressing a Navy Seal’s graduating class and was given the hope that maybe there are those out there that will change the world for the better of all. I truly believe that there is hope for us here in the USA. We simply need to make our bed each morning!
Movies, TV, Books:
1. “Puzzle”: Husband: Where’s dinner? Wife, as she works on putting together a jigsaw puzzle at the dining room table: I guess I forgot! Did you forget to buy my cheese at the grocery also? Wife: I did! Husband: This is bullshit!” This movie is loaded with scenes like this – it simply keeps you guessing as to what is going to next come out of Agnes’ mouth and keeps you laughing along the way. “Agnes (Kelly Macdonald), taken for granted as a suburban mother, discovers a passion for solving jigsaw puzzles, which unexpectedly draws her into a new world – where her life unfolds in ways she could never have imagined.” (Fandango movie review). It is not a movie for everyone because you have to think through the entire movie as to what is happening – it is not going to be explained to you. And the best part, you might think you know where the movies is going to end up, but it doesn’t. The movie is highly acclaimed but was only in theaters for one week. I can’t wait for it to come out on DVD.
2. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society”: (Netflix): “"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" is an old-school, old-fashioned entertainment, a romantic drama bursting with scenic vistas and earnest charm that contains just enough mystery to keep us involved.” (L.A. Times, Kenneth Turan, 8/9/2018). Again, this isn’t for everyone. I enjoyed it because of the English scenery and because it is a period piece of the impact of WWII and German occupation. It has a number of plot twists that keeps you looking around the corner, although you figure out very early where it is headed with the main character.
Daily Observations: This section will be something that simply boggled my mind at the time it occurred which honestly turns out to be nonsense when I think of it later. I thought it worthy of my pen anyway.
A Devastating Discovery! (April 2017)
The cause for this devastating update began innocently enough yesterday at lunch. Most Tuesdays throughout the year are reserved for having lunch with a dear friend of mine. This friend is a very seasoned & knowledgeable doctor (hereafter referred to as “Doc” as I will try to protect the guilty who contributed to the horribly described events hereafter) in charge of the residency program at a local hospital.
After ordering our lunch, Doc told a story as to a recent patient who showed up in the emergency room seeking pain killers for back pain. Doc looked me directly in the face and said: “I told him he didn’t need pain killers, he needed to lose about 50 lbs.”
I didn’t give the story much thought until I went to bed last night. It seems that I can spend a good deal of sleeping time re-hashing the most insignificant things. One such thought last night was Doc’s story about losing 50 lbs. Was it coincidence that I am really in need of losing 50 lbs.? Would one of my best friends say this to me? I admit I have recently heard this suggestion from multiple sources, but a good friend?
By this morning, I was convinced Doc was right and action was required on my part. I vowed to start a diet and exercise program immediately to conquer this demon of being “obese” as repeatedly declared by the VA! I got up, put on my bionic knee brace and was out the door with my walking stick (after cleaning off the cob webs) for the 1.3 mile walk to Hardee’s!
Luckily, after about a half mile I ran into another friend who is out every morning and evening to take care of the abandoned cat population in our area. I was already exhausted and needed a rest. Meeting this particular friend has repeatedly raised the question in my mind: Why is it that so many kittens/cats are abandoned?
My friend, hereafter referred to as “Catcarer” (he feeds this cat population twice a day, has them spaded & neutered, takes them to the vet when they are injured or sick and gives them a decent burial) first stated that he had been checking the obituaries daily to see if my name would turn up. (Note: this practice of looking for me in the obituaries was later echoed this very same morning by two school crossing guards). I told all three of the year long process of having my left knee replaced.
After my attempt to explain the situation of my bum knee to Catcarer, he endorsed my theory as to the medical use of senior citizens. Senior citizens are the live testing pool for everything in the medical community. The use of senior citizens enables the insurance, medical and government communities to charge money while they experiment without complaint from the patient – right? Establishing “protocols” enhances profits while not having to take the blame for screw-ups if the patient dies – “we did everything possible using the latest and greatest” is often heard throughout the medical community. And then if the patient doesn’t die before the needed surgery, the medical community can charge for the surgery and “rehabilitative care”, meaning more money. (Note: sorry to get off the story, but, I tell this senior citizen story to everyone.)
By now I was feeling a little depressed, but I hadn’t made it to Hardee’s yet! So, I hopped the remaining .8 mile to Hardee’s on my semi-good leg as the bionic leg wasn’t really feeling bionic by now.
Having reached Hardee’s excited by the anticipation of getting my breakfast biscuit, I immediately noticed a new advertising bill board behind the counter. It was really nice, modernizing the area. Of course, my first thought was that Hardee’s had raised its prices. A quick review disclosed they had not. However, there was an immediate recognition that something had drastically changed. Each item had listed beside it the calories in the product being sold.
For many years at Hardee's, I have had a sausage & egg biscuit for breakfast; equal to 560 calories. Staring me in the face on the new billboard was a sausage & egg biscuit equal to 690 calories! Now, most people might think: “More for your Money” - not so when confronted by additional calories, especially when starting a new diet!
Well, this disclosure did NOT deter me from ordering a sausage, cheese & egg biscuit! But I was wondering why the additional calories. I called the manager over who explained two new rules in the food industry. First, any food item sold is now required to disclose its correct calorie content at the time of sale. Second, Hardee’s was required to change the recipe for its biscuits to healthier ingredients. I responded that I didn’t notice any change in the taste. The manger stated that food items now sold by Hardee’s were not allowed to have trans-fats in its product. Puzzled, I asked, so, if you take away trans-fats, it increases the calorie content? Yes is the answer. For a Hardee’s biscuit, the additional calories added up to 130, a 23% increase!
I ate my biscuit, enjoying every morsel and started crawling home, totally devastated as to what I had learned and suffered this day. It takes a good while to crawl 1.3 miles and I thought hard for the entire trip home as to my dilemma. Should I give up Hardee’s biscuits and push the dieting and exercise to lose 50 lbs.?
Of course, you know I am sitting here laughing as we both know the answer to that one! Tomorrow morning, I will get up, get into my car, drive to Hardee’s and get my sausage & egg biscuit! I might just pick up an order of hash-rounds as well! How quickly life goals change, even for us senior citizens!
Old Wooden Box: This section will be devoted to articles I have written as to my past life experiences which I have accumulated over the years or for stories from my personal past history.
Probably the oldest animal sport by the Thies clan is hunting skunks! My father who began the tradition around 1925 first told me of this special family skill when I was an impressionable teenager living at George’s Lake. Seems his mother, my grandmother, Pearly Boyd Thies was a local Matriarch in the sleepy Seminole Indian town of Wewoka, Oklahoma. Her Husband, Joseph was a local contractor of some reputation allowing a comfortable life-style until the Great Depression.
Joe, their oldest son (my father by adoption) was sort of a local celebrity himself. He was very much a Tom Sawyer type child, always up to some mischief that eventually was brought to the attention of his mother for the necessary correction of proper behavior. And this is where his skunk hunting skills comes to light. Seems that Grandma Pearly would have bridge parties at her big home once a week. Every lady that was of some import in Wewoka or who could at least play bridge was invited over for the weekly games. These ladies would sit around the card tables doing what they felt was important; things like playing bridge, drinking coffee and spreading all the latest local gossip.
This was simply more than Joe could tolerate and during these bridge gatherings he would leave the house to find greater adventures. So the story goes, one day, not having anything better to do, he was walking through the woods when he ran across a skunk. I am not sure how the skunk was caught, but I do know that Joe held it by its tail so that it could not do its special skunk business! He took the skunk home to proudly show it to his two younger brothers, at least that’s the excuse he always told. He took the skunk into the house right in the middle of his mother’s weekly bridge party. Well, the women being the anti-hunters they were and not understanding important boy things simply did not grasp the importance of capturing this special animal. They began screaming hysterically and running out the front door. Joe dropped the skunk and ran out the back door – not ever fully explaining why he left the skunk behind or how long it was before he came home. You can imagine the rest of the story – it was really a smelly event!
But the family reputation for skunk hunting was cast. Hearing this story, I could not pass up the challenge of a particular albino skunk that frequented the garbage dump behind our house on George’s Lake. This was especially true because that skunk was always spraying my poor old dog – Jeff! Jeff was a good hunting dog, but he never seemed quite sure as to what he was to do after he found his prey, especially skunks! The skunk would always get the best of Jeff by spraying him good and he would come home stinking only to be left outside for days while the smell wore off.
So, I found it to be my responsibility to rid our community of this particular skunk. Every night, I would take out the .22 caliber rifle (the only gun we had) along with a flashlight and walk up and down the dump trying to find that albino skunk! It wasn’t easy looking for an albino skunk with the two-cell flashlight I had, especially with the batteries almost dead! But finally, we met up eyeball-to-eyeball, which was a good thing for me because he couldn’t squirt me looking eyeball-to-eyeball. Upon seeing me, he tried desperately to get his tail turned around. But with my superior hunting skills and great luck, I was able to shoot him before he could do his damage.
I was a mighty proud teenager for killing that skunk and immediately told Jeff that he had nothing further to worry about, at least as to that skunk. All night as I lay in bed I was thinking what a great deed I had accomplished and felt I should be rewarded in some manner. By dawn I had the perfect solution. I would skin that skunk, tan his hide and keep it in my room as a trophy. I immediately found me a piece of plywood and some nails to stretch out the skin. I also got a box of salt from the kitchen cupboard which would be needed for this professional tanning project.
By now, Jeff was all for helping with this most important community project. He and I went to the dump and shortly found our trophy to be. Of course after being out all night, this skunk was covered in other vermin that felt they had found themselves a free meal. We gathered the skunk, washed him off and started on the skinning process. That didn’t work out the way I thought it would. My knife simply wasn’t the sharpest and skinning the skunk didn’t follow the pictures in the book. But, I was able to get a piece of the skin off the skunk. It was only at this point that I realized he wasn’t truly a totally albino skunk, he just appeared that way in the heat of the hunt. Even so, I stretched his skin out, nailed it to the board and poured the salt to it.
Now, history has a way of repeating itself. After completing my tanning project, I headed to the house for much needed food and rest. I didn’t really know that my mother was canning that day and that she had several other ladies over for the day’s events. I had hardly set foot in the house when I heard my mother screaming “What’s that smell?” I had no idea what the problem could be – truly I didn’t smell anything! But shortly I was handed a bar of soap and told that I was to go to the lake and scrub my clothes and myself until the smell was gone. And I was to take Jeff with me. Needless to say neither of us got anything to eat.
As for my father, I really think he knew what was going to happen by the telling of his story. He just walked around for weeks shaking his head and laughing every time he walked by me. And what happened to the skunk skin I had so carefully prepared for tanning? Well, it went back to the garbage dump and the vermin waiting for their evening meal; they appreciated my adding the salt!
And that’s the way the true story goes from the old wooden box about the Thies family’s propensity for hunting skunks. Until next time, hold on to your memories, they are the character of your life.
I said it first:
1) These mosquitoes are big enough that I can see their tail numbers without glasses! (To explain why I might need a blood transfusion after walking outside this summer!)
2) Those that cover their body with piercings and tattoos want to look different as opposed to making a difference – which holds its value longer?