The Street Vendor

A lifetime ago I used to walk to Woolworth’s Five and Dime on Friday night and wait on my mother to finish cutting window blinds. She always stopped at the corner of Colorado and Maringo Streets to by ready-to-eat tamales from the street vendor. They were the size of today’s pound hamburger roll and cost five cents (It was 1945).

Fast forward 72 years….Barb made tamale pie for lunch today using cornmeal, chicken, brown sugar, and mustard seed. The first bite sent me back to the vendor man.

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Once Again September Has Come and Gone

This year the trees answering their DNA memories are dropping their leaves in spite of an extra warm autumn. It’s time to give up what has been cherished all summer long. Some things are not so willingly released. The presence of our dog, Mr. Black, is one case in point.

He came to us from a Texas animal shelter as a $10 dog. And he stated low maintenance for more than a decade. We were honored to be his guardians for nearly 15 years. During that time he became a full-fledged member of our family with privileges given thereof.

The gleaming things on his color are bells. He rang them to gain our attention when the need arose.

Rocking Horses

In our neighborhood is a need for children’s toys. So I’ve begun doing what little I can to bring joy to little ones using a jig saw and sand paper, paint, and patience..

I built a couple dozen while we lived in Texas, so this isn’t a shot in the dark. There are seven pieces in all. I have them cut out.  The photo is proof of progress. I should have this one ready by Wednesday and ready for deliver. More pictures coming.

It’s fun, but I’m tired.

Y2K+17

BBC reports on a Facebook employee, Antonio Garcia Martinez, who has quit his San Francisco job and moved to a newly acquired parcel of land in the San Juan Islands. He predicts that technology will soon overtake our economy, forcing sixty percent of the population out-of-work.

Not many of these out-of-work people will have the funds to purchase these new products of which he speaks – self-driving is what he mentions in the interview.

However, if by chance his hunch is correct and the masses come for his stuff they may not rush him. They may wait in the bushes. Eventually, he will nod off. What then?

Is Antonio suffering from paranoia, or Y2K+17?

Fear

A close friend of mine was unable to face the world without a drink under his belt. I was years coming to realize that.

We all thought that it was funny when during a hospital stay the nurse found a fifth of Old Crow in his bed sheets. She’d raised hell with him. We laughed.

He kept his problem hidden from others, for the most part, but there were times when the glaring truth could no longer be kept secret.

One summer he worked a temporary job driving a mint harvester at night. It was an alcoholic’s dream-job. In the darkness no one could see him taking a nip from his thermos. His drinking problem remained unnoticed until the night he apparently hit the hooch too hard. The boss discovered him driving the tractor across the field perpendicular to the proper direction and fired him.

Later he took a job driving a taxi at night. It was also perfect. No one could see what he was doing. But one night a passenger with a sharp nose sniffed something  and reported him to the supervisor. He was fired in middle of his shift.

Some years earlier he’d lost a leg in a truck accident, so he naturally moved slower than others. He was probably about 65 when he was afflicted with cancer on his tongue. After the cancer was removed we, the family, went to the hospital to visit him. He moved around as easily as the rest of us. I’d known him 40 years, yet I hardly recognized him. He had been in a constant stage of drunkenness all those years and I was unaware of it.

He passed on at age 70. After he was gone I came to realize he lived in constant fear.

Which brings another situation into focus.

A middle-aged lady I’ve come to know shows evidence of a drinking problem. She’s obviously been at it long enough she’s learned to maintain a controlled environment. No one notices she has a snootful because they’ve not seen her in any other state. Not until recently did I realize she is dealing with a failed marriage and the loss of her comfortable home. There may be other issues of which I’m not aware, because I’m only an acquaintance, not her confident.

But I’ve come to know her well enough to suspect she cannot cope with life while she’s stone sober.

Coffee Call

Each morning Barb and I take our coffee to our small, north side deck where we engage in conversation and observation of the world about. The morning we discovered a bug transporting something much larger than himself. We decided it was probably an ant, considering the fact they are able to carry a load several times their own weight.

However, the load this bug was moving apparently approached his limit. He was struggling. Everytime we moved he paused and waited. By the time our Coffee Call was finished he had moved about twenty inches in an easterly direction.

We respect life in all forms. If creatures don’t interfere with us we don’t purposely create problems for them whether they be ants, wasps, crows, or skunks.

When we moved back inside he may still en route.

A knob Twister

Image From the Internet

More than fifty years have passed since I left the old home place. Standing on the cellar wall, peering into the ashes and half-burned timbers that fill the place where I spent my winter nights, I hear the voice of Bob Wills or Red Foley, or maybe Ernest Tubb. I cup one ear to be sure. But the restless cottonwoods assure me it’s my imagination run wild. I’m hearing the ghosts of my past.

In this sooty hole beneath what was once the living room I’d experienced the golden age of radio. With a wire in the cottonwoods and a white Arvin 5-tube radio I’d earned from coupons on hog feed bags I enjoyed The Grand Ole’ Opry, Louisiana Hayride, and another that escapes me. But these fun-filled programs were transmitted only on weeks ends.

During the weekday evening I enjoyed Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, The Whistler. The Shadow, and scores of other stories.

There were no full descriptions like those on television. I didn’t need them. I’d seen the girl with the yellow hair in the grocery store, just as I’d seen the guy with thick glasses in the drug store. I recognized my characters. Had you been sitting beside me during those winter nights you would have recognized yours too.

It’s In the Details

During a three-way email discussion this week we reviewed a World War II movie where Morse code was sent on the sly by a tap dancer while the Tommy Dorsey Band played in the background. Our discussion was not so much about the move, but what language was used to send the secret message. It was tough copy, whatever it was.

I finally decided the message was sent via American Morse and by means of the old Sounder. In this manner one doesn’t copy the length of the tone. Instead, one copies the length of time the electromagnet is engaged – the time span between the click and the clack.

It was still difficult, but I was able to copy along with the person who was printing the characters. The movie reviewers thought he was writing it ahead. I found they were wrong, especially when she stamped her heel and then hesitated before continuing signifying a “T” in the word BOAT. In American Morse the T is three times longer than in International Morse.

 

Multitasking

I’ve often heard references to multitasking, and that it’s a common belief that women are more skilled at it than men. I suppose child rearing makes multitasking a necessity. But in all this discussion I don’t recall any reference to the animals with whom we share this planet – our pets, for instance.

Yesterday, while my dog, Mr. Black, and I were engaged in our morning constitutional he paused in a grassy area to relieve himself. Midway through his “job” a neighborhood cat appeared. The dog’s ears moved, nothing more. The two are well acquainted, and the intruder read more into the ear movement than did I. Quite sure of himself, he settled into a comfortable cat-posture to waiting mode.

When the task was complete Mr. Black hit the end of his leash like a cannonball, but not before the cat had vanished into a nearby hedge.
Mr. Black is a male. Therefore, his multitasking skills may be lacking. Had he been a Ms. Black would the confrontation ended differently?