Poppy's Front Porch - in the Missouri Ozarks

Poppy's Front Porch - in the Missouri Ozarks
This photo was taken in 1949. My cousins and I remember the porch after our grandfather walled it in, added a door and big screen windows.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Evening Rambler for December 27, 2015

A belated Merry Christmas, and an early Happy New Year to you!

As always in recent years, the high point of this season, for me, is having all of my children and my two granddaughters here to celebrate.  Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were good days, indeed.

Now, let me tell you about my day today.  You might say, it's been a roller coaster.

The high points...

Church was good.  Around mid afternoon, my second daughter walked into the kitchen, said "Hey dad", and introduced me to her boyfriend.

Boyfriend?  I'm often the last to know what's going on, but that's okay.  We shook hands and only talked for a short time, but my first impressions were good ones.

Later on, the third high point, noticing that my youngest granddaughter was sound asleep on the couch.  Very peaceful.  What is it about little kids sleeping?  It's just powerfully sweet.

Fourth high point, maybe an hour ago, my son-in-law made popcorn the old fashioned way, cooked in a pan on the stove.  Very tasty!

Now, about the other thing that happened between highlights three and four.  I decided I ought to go grocery shopping before the winter storm hits us tonight; get out while the roads are still good.  So I put on two hooded sweatshirts, got into the car and made the rounds of Aldi's and Price Chopper.  I got everything on my mental shopping list, so that part was a success.

Understand that I was using the hoods out in the cold wind, bringing them down in the stores, and putting the hoods back up for protection while walking back through the parking lots to the car.

I didn't notice what was wrong until I was driving away from my last stop, less than two miles from home.  I'm not exactly sure what prompted this, I guess I could feel something was amiss.  Anyway, I put my right hand up to my right ear.

No hearing aid on the right side.

I got home, unloaded the groceries, and to make a long story somewhat shorter, I went back out and retraced my steps.  I thought, well maybe the hearing aid had gone down into my hood, so I checked that.  I also looked on the floor where I walked, and out to the driveway, and in the car.  Not there.

So I returned to both stores, looked in the parking lots, inside along the aisles where I'd walked, and I asked at both stores after their lost and found.  The ladies I talked to at Price Chopper were especially helpful, and took down my name and phone number, just in case someone turns it in in the next few days.  I told them how much I appreciated that.

But, I really think it's gone.  By now, someone's either picked it up and made off with it, who knows why.  Or it's been driven over.  Or it's still somewhere outside and I just didn't see it.  If it's the last, it will be ruined by the freezing rain they're calling for tonight.

Being half deaf, I have to have hearing aids; I have no choice.  And while I haven't priced new ones recently, they've got to be every bit of $2,000 each.

And since these are at least seven years old, and weren't working as well as when they were new, I'd already decided to replace them this year anyway.  I'd hoped to wait until Summer, but that's not to be.

So, $2,000 X 2 = $4,000.  Not sure how that will happen yet.

Oh, and did I mention that eight days ago I was called for jury duty at the end of January?  I'm going to try to get excused from it with a note from my audiologist.  I called their office a few days ago and the lady who answered the phone said the audiologist would be glad to write a medical note describing my hearing loss.  But...not to expect much.  This is Jackson County, Missouri after all.  They don't grant many excuses for jury duty.

Not that I mind serving, I've done it before - when I had more of my hearing.  I'm just really concerned that I'll s***w up by misunderstanding the testamonies in the court room.

So I'll send the medical note in anyway, and we'll see what happens.  Way to go Bob, start 2016 by blowing four grand.


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Well I’m back, with Birthday greetings!

What better time to come back to The Porch, but Cousin Mike’s Birthday?  This year, I thought I’d take samples from my past August 11 th posts…highlights for this Mike Day.

Sometimes I was invited to Mike's house to spend the night, and the hours would fly by. Paper, pens and pencils were an absolutely necessity, and the "creativity" (silliness) would begin…

Later and later it would get. We'd try to keep the laughter to a minimum as we passed the cartoons back and forth. We'd always get shushed once or twice from Mike's mom or dad. The stuff they put up with…

Once in a while we'd get philosophical. I had realized something that had troubled me a bit. At the time, M&Ms came in red, orange, yellow, green and brown. We'd been on a completely different subject, so I sprang it on him.

"Mike, why are there no blue M&M's"? We had a good laugh over that and pondered what we could do. We decided we ought to send the company a telegram:


Once or twice we stayed up late enough that we heard the newspaper hit the front step. Mike would go out and bring it in, and we'd head straight for the comics page.

We had to be among the first in town to read the days comic strips in the Branson Beacon. Got a jump on most everybody else. That felt good. Then we'd finally get a few hours sleep, and pretty much be worthless for the rest of the day.

(2010:  A happy birthday limerick for Cousin Mike)

One day at the county fair,
Young Mike met with Smokey the Bear,
The thing moved and spoke,
Not a very good joke,
He’d just as soon forget that scare.

On a visit at Mike’s house I’d stay,
We’d tell jokes or find some game to play,
The night would wear on,
We’d draw comics ‘till dawn,
And be worthless the rest of the day…

This August heat’s too much to take,
Better call off the trip to the lake,
Stay inside’s my advice,
“Have a drink with some ice,
And a big slice of mayonnaise cake!”

(2011:  Some of Mike’s favorite things)

Mike especially enjoys Cardinals' baseball.  


Mike is also a big fan of Batman.
So what could be better than a picture of Batman playing baseball?

This took some searching... 


And this one was way too much fun to pass up. 

(2012:  Mike’s Birthday – What Not to do)

Is there anything better than celebrating with good friends, good conversation, and great dessert? And is there anything worse than the sudden realization that you just did or said exactly the wrong thing, brought the celebration to a screeching halt, and now everyone’s staring at you with their mouths open, dumbfounded?

Forewarned is forearmed as they say, and if you’ll give me your attention for just a bit, maybe I can help prevent any embarrassing moments…

Mike also follows the news, but you want to take care bringing up just any old item. Say, maybe you’ve been following a story about a city somewhere where the people have long endured a major crime spree, and the heck of it is that the police force is as corrupt as the criminals; the poor decent souls have lost hope. There might be a better time than a birthday party to mention that.

After all, in a big city like Gotham, Batman would never allow such a situation to drag on that long. He would have dealt with it on day one.

And speaking of that, you might have thought of surprising Mike by arriving in costume. That seems creative, but you want to choose wisely. If I were you, I’d walk right past the Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman costumes and say, no thanks. Even if they are in the reduced bin marked half off for quick sale…

I’m sure there will be dessert. But if you want to bring extra {considering the crowd of people and all), well that’s considerate of you and it would be appreciated.

If you don’t bring some kind of weird sour pickle dessert, that is. This is the day for chocolate mayonnaise cake. Oh, and don’t eat all of Mike’s cake. Not only is that bad manners, you probably won’t be invited back next year.

One other thing, Mike isn’t all that enthusiastic about fireworks. I know, that’s hard to believe, but it’s true nonetheless. Sure, maybe a few sparklers would be fun for a few minutes.


But hours worth of firecrackers, cone fountains, Roman candles, artillery shells, and missile barrages? All those sparks and popping and booming, into the small hours of the morning? Mike can do without all that. He’d rather call it a day at a decent hour, and get a good night’s rest.

After all, some people have to get up early in the morning.

(2013:  Slide show)

"Bob, you're not going to show the old Colorado trip slides again?  Everybody's seen all those!"
"No, no...just a few slides in honor of Mike's birthday."

(Click of the power knob being turned to ON, the soft whirring of the cooling fan, and the sounds of the projector being adjusted so the picture's in the center of the screen.)



"Oops, gotta do that at least once.  Hang on, I'll get it."

(Sounds of the projector mechanism being opened manually, and the slide holder being removed, the slide being taken out, turned, and being re-inserted, and everything being put back right.)



"What's he doing here?"

"I think he was explaining to Victoria how McDonald's gets the eggs round for Egg McMuffins.  Mike knows all kinds of stuff like that."

"What I want to know Bob, is how you remember trivia like that years later."

"Not sure.  Kind of scary, huh?"



"This...and the one before too...were taken at Aunt Timmy's 80th birthday celebration."


"The gang!"

But you know, what's weird is that I couldn't find any of Mike on one of his birthdays.

(2014:  New Holiday Clearinghouse)

Bob:  “I filled out and brought in this application for a new holiday, Mike Day.”

Counter Man:  “Let’s see what you got."

(There was a slight rustle of paper as the forms were handed over.)

Counter Man:  “August 11, huh?  So you don’t want a floating holiday, always on a Monday, that sort of thing?”

Bob:  “No, it’s got to be the eleventh every year.”…

Counter Man:  “Wait, you left this blank, where it says Mascot.”

Bob:  “Yeah, I wasn’t sure what to do with that.  Hmmm…Mike does like Batman…”

Counter Man:  “Nope, no bats.   They’re booked only for Halloween.  It’s some kind of union rule.”…

Bob:  “Okay, how about, could we do a giant, magical, talking toad?”

(Counter Man keys in a search on “holiday, mascot, toad, talking”.)
Counter Man:  “Your lucky day.  Now how would you describe this giant, talking toad?”

Bob:  “Well…he looks like an average toad, except bigger, maybe the size of a big dog.  And, I dunno, sometimes he would wear a little hat, but not all the time.”

(Counter Man enters “Toad mascot is not misshapen, but is unnaturally large; comparable to a large dog.  Often wears a hat.”)…

Counter Man:  “So, what kind of things does this toad say?”

Bob:  “Mostly happy, lighthearted greetings.  But he always slips in a serious warning or bit of smart advice.  He’s wise beyond his years, you could say.  And sometimes he speaks in limericks.”

Counter Man:  “That’s like some kind of poem?”

Bob:  “Yeah, like, ‘There once was a man from Springfield…’”

Counter Man:  “Got it.  Now, how is he a magical toad, again?”

Bob:  “Well, his power is telepathy.  He can read minds.  But he never uses his power for evil; he’s a good toad.  Give you an example, say Mike has misplaced his car keys.  The Mike Day Toad would hop over, and peer into Mike’s mind and figure out where the keys are.”

Counter Man:  “We’ll just leave it that he’s magical for now.  I think maybe it’s better to leave these things kind of vague at first, then let the holiday traditions grow as the years go by.  For instance, take Dog Constitution Day, with the bank robbing folk singing group, the rogue census takers, and the big walking cactus.  That holiday turned weird, and no one knows why.”

Bob:  “I’ve never heard of that!  It sounds…strangely interesting though.”

Counter Man:  “Yeah, it is fun, in a bizarre sort of way.  Well, we’re about done.  Under How to Celebrate, you have ‘Invite family and friends in for conversation, to listen to festive music, and have good food…and something else.   I’m trying to make out your writing here, it looks like it says ‘Slow Yellow Navy’.  What is that?” 

Bob:  “Uh, well, macaroni and cheese.  It’s a long story.  You can leave that off.”

Counter Man:  “Okay, we’ll keep this simple too. “  (He keys in, “Celebrate by having family and friends over for conversation, good food, and to enjoy festive music.”)… 

Counter Man:  “One more question and this will be all done and official.  How about dessert?”

Bob:  “Sure!  What have you got?  Oh, you mean for Mike Day.”

Counter Man:  “Yes.”

Bob:  “Do they still make those blue M&M’s?”

Counter Man:  “I’m sure they do.”

Bob:  “Good, gotta have those.  Oh, and we can’t forget the chocolate mayonnaise cake.”

Counter Man:  “What?!”

- - - - - - - - - - - -

Well, that’s all, except to say that the Little Pigeon of Doubt tried to dissuade me from this project.  He didn’t think it would make much sense, but you know how he is.  I sent him back to his coop.

Actually, I think the highlights flowed together reasonably well.

Happy Mike Day!