…”The child in me”…

After a supper of BBQ from a local “Joint” I decided to take “Ole Chrome & Blue” for a stroll. I had to blow the dust off of him as we got outside cause it has been several days since we went out together. At 6:00 p.m. in “The Big Pell” it  was 75 degrees with a slight breeze. The activity was slow. Only two (2) bites but Two (2) landed! One Bucket Mouth tippin’ in about 3 pounds or so. The other was a Black Crappie. No that’s NOT a racist term! It weight in around 2 pounds or better. Both were fun to play with. No pics as the phone was on the charger. But there were WITNESSES! Neighbors on both sides… The child in me decided to stomp on a couple of Ant Beds along the drive way as I headed back up to the house. Just to get them buggers all worked up & angry. Another wonderful end to a blessed day…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

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…”Now, don’t you feel better just knowin’ “…

On this fine Sunday afternoon I found myself relaxin’ & enjoyin’ myself a few {{{{{ COLD BEERS ! }}}}} down in “The Cave”. TV got somewhat borin’ & my mind started wanderin’, as it has a tendency to do. Ohh but the places it takes me when it does. Today’s wanderin’ took me back to my raisin’ years. We really should show a little more appreciation for those that raised us & the fact that we survived it, what ever & where ever IT was.

Aahhh…Mother (I can’t say & Father, because mine passed when I was less than two (2) years old, but @ age 11 I gained a Stepfather). I guess I’ll just say Parents! I like to think, with lovin’ memories of course, that not only ME but that 99.99% of you remember how they (our Parents) expressed their love & understandin’ to us thru all those little quips, phrases, promises, threats, & {{{{{ Srceamin’ Warnin’s }}}}} they used to express themselves to us durin’ our formative years. In these different homes & different families you might have heard any number of the different phrases. I mean where, who, what would you/we be without them? We learned & we learned they meant what they said more times than not…RIGHT? Take a moment & remanence with me, through our minds eyes & ears, for a few moments…

The Earliest Recollections:
I love, love, love you!…I love you…Yeah, I love you but you’re pushin’ it!…
No no…NO NO!…I said “NO NO Damn-it”!
Don’t do that…”No, don’t do that” I said…Damn-it, I won’t tell you again!…
I’ll spank your hand…I’ll spank your bottom…I’ll beat The Tar out of you!…(I never understood “The Tar”?)

The Intermediate Years:
Now, eat your supper…You’ll eat what I put on you’re plate…You’d best choke that stuff down, you hear me!…
Use your manners…I taught you manners for a reason…Did I waste my damn time on You!…
You know I love you & this is goin’ to hurt me more than it will you… No, I don’t care, you’re gonna get a whoppin’, now drop your pants!…All your Promises/Lies ain’t changin’ a damn thing you’re still gettin’ a Ass-Whoppin’!
Excuse me but someone else is speakin’…Hey, I’d like to hear what they are tryin’ to say…Shut-up Damn-it, I want to hear’em!…
Use your napkin please…Clean your mouth off & don’t use your sleeve again!…Are you waitin’ on the Damn Dog to lick your face!…
Do you want a spankin’…I’ll whoop your butt…I’m gonna beat the hell out of you! (hum-m-m here’s another one “
beat the hell out of you!)…

The High School Years:
Think about what you’re doin’/sayin’…Do you realize WHAT you just did/said?…You don’t know what the hell you’re doin’/sayin’ do you?…
You be Home by 10:00 p.m…I don’t care how late they are allowed to stay out…You really DON”T want ME comin’ over THERE to drag your ass home, You Hear Me!…
That looks & fits very nice…I think that’s just a little too tight, small, & revealin’, go your change cloths…Oh Hell No! Ain’t NO child of mine goin’ out lookin’ like THAT!…
You don’t have any clean cloths?…Do you know where the dirty cloths go?…Wash’em your own damn self!…
You have a good head on your shoulders…You’re not as smart as you think you are…Ahh-hahaha, You Dumb Ass!…

Cut the grass?…What, you couldn’t crank the lawn mower? I don’t care if you have to use your teeth, get it done!…
It’s a good starter car…You want a New Car? Get You a Job!…You’ll drive what the hell I buy or you can WALK!…
Oh, that’s not what you want?…So, you’re tellin’ me you don’t like it?…I ain’t gittin’ a damn thing for you anyway!…
We have rules in this house…So, YOU don’t think My/Our RULES apply to YOU?…Don’t let that Door hit you in The Ass on the way out & the locks WILL be changed!…
I’m sure there were/are many, many, many others that were/are favorites around your house too. Now, don’t you feel better just knowin’ you weren’t/ain’t the only one who has lived/is livin’ through it…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

Neighborhood Fruits #9b….”Shew me out of the Patch”… continued

Remember the “Row Sacks”, from earlier, well Mama would slit open the sack & scrape those Fish Eggs into a bowl with the Chicken Eggs & Scramble’em all up together. Um-m-m-m GOOD! Back to the tomato Plants…some time in late March or early April, when ever “The Poor Richards Almanac” said it was time, Papa’d get his seeds out on the back porch, send one of us to go get him a 5 gallon bucket of dirt from where we had been buryin’ fish guts and bring it to him. He’d mix up that fertilizer in that dirt real good & then take the ole egg cartons he’d have Mama save for him & he’d fill twelve (12) holes there with the mixture then plant one seed in each hole. When he was through he would gently water’em by hand to just the right moisture & set’ em on a shelf there on the back porch. The two weeks later he’d do it again for twelve (12) more. Now, some time in the first of May, again according to “The Poor Richards Almanac” he’d call us out again & tell us to “get our tools” & up in the yard we’d go. He’d then point to a spot on the ground & say “give me a One Foot x One Foot x One Foot hole right there! Then move two feet in a line & repeat it. I want twelve (12) holes & make’em in a straight line”. “Yes sir” we’d respond! Papa always seemed to pick the hottest day to do this! Then he’d wait two (2)  weeks & we’d go do the same thing right beside the first twelve (12) holes. When all was said & done there’d be 24 healthy Tomato Plants growin’. As time passed those first twelve (12) plants started producin’ Big Ole Tomatoes. And we were blessed with’em. Then in just a couple of weeks the others started to come in. WOW! Now with so many tomatoes bein’ available you’d think a few wouldn’t be missed. I had a bad habit of sneakin’ the salt shaker off of the table & sneakin’ up to the Tomato Patch & just ah helpin’ myself. Somehow Mama always seemed to show up wantin’ her salt shaker & then would “Shew” me out of the Patch with her ole broom. It beat gettin’ a Switchin’!…”hold’em Hook”!…..BG> 

Neighborhood Fruits #7…”Pear Cobblers & some Homemade Jelly”…

There was Older Gentleman, I’ll just say Mr. Smith, up on 4th Avenue South. I remember him as a very friendly & kind spirited man. Ironically he lived right across the street from the “Crotchety Ole Lady” who owned the The Orchard. The difference between them was Night & Day, a Warm Heart & a Cold Heart, Yin & Yang. Yeah, I guess you could say they were total opposites. He too was elderly. He lived alone in a Big Ole House on the corner. Many times I would see him sittin’ out on his front porch in a rockin’ chair & readin’ the daily paper. I remember feelin’ comfortable enough to walk & just start talkin’ with him. He’d lay down his paper & always seemed interested in what I had to say. We’d talk sports, fishin’, & school days. He always had a large pitcher of homemade lemonade on his side table & would offer & pour me a glass. On occasion he’d be out cuttin’ his grass, rakin’ leaves, or pickin’ up Pears that had fallen from this huge tree in his back yard.But he always had time to stop & chat. At times he say “Boy climb up that tree & shake that limb”, as he pointed to one heavy with ripe Pears, & I would. He always seemed to have an ole market basket layin’ around. He’d tell me to get it, fill it up, & take it home. He’d sit in an ole rusty lawn chair & enjoy one of his Pears as I filled the basket. Once I’d filled it I’d get one then I sit on the ground & enjoy it as he spoke, & I’d listen, of how his young’uns used to climb that Ole Tree. They were all grown by then & had moved far off. Thinkin’ back now he just enjoyed talkin’ to folks. He was always interestin’ to listen to & a joy to be around. As our visits would come to an end he always tell me “if ya need any more Pears just come & get’em. But don’t fall out of that tree”! That seemed to be a common phrase among adults to us kids. I reply “Yes sir & thank him for the Pears” as we’d part company for the day, & I’d head home. When I got home I’d give those Pears to Mama & she’d make couple of Pear Cobblers & some Homemade Jelly from’em. Mama would always put one of the Cobblers or a couple of jars of Jelly, in the basket I brought home, & make sure I took’em to Mr Smith & I always would…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

Neighborhood Fruits #1…”the grapes were ripe”…

Sittin’ around yesterday mornin’ my Bride & I were chattin’ about things that we wanted to do around the house. Then the conversation turned to “fresh foods & fruits” & how they fit into our diets. Who knows? At the same time I noticed somethin’ on the TV that sent my mind to wanderin’ again. Of course it really doesn’t take a lot to do that anyway. It took me back to the neighborhood I grew up in. We (my Mother, Brother, & I) lived with my Grandparents. Up in our back yard there was a huge fig tree on one side & on the other side a very large grape arbor that had two (2) vines growin’ over it. One from each end that Papa had planted many years ago & carefully tended it regularly. The grapes especially! I watched that Old Man, more times than I could count, as we’d be sittin’ on the little back porch, shoot birds out of that grape arbor with a home made Sling Shot! At 30 yards away & slightly up hill he could hit birds as they would land in there to “rob his grapes”. “Boy, get me my Sling & my bag of marbles from the house” he’d say. “Yes sir” I’d reply as I scurried to fetch’em for him. Upon my {{{ quick ! }}} return he’d look over his sling, to make sure all was good with it, reach down in his bag of little, light green crystal clear glass, marbles. He’d load one in the pocket of the sling, draw it back, & with a quick flick of his wrist, release it, & {{{ Whack ! }}}. Out of the arbor would fall a bird floppin’ around. Papa never seemed to miss! Then as out of nowhere at least one, usually more, cats would appear & pounce on that “Thievin’ Bird”. Then before I knew it {{{Whack ! }}} there would be a second bird on the ground, floppin’ around. And yes, more cats arrivin’. It was as though they could hear Papa diggin’ around in his marble sack & they’d come a runnin’. Feathers & Fur would fly, as always, then there was always a proud cat prancin’ off with a bird in its mouth while the others were still fightin’ over the second bird. I don’t know why, but it seems to my recollection, they always fell in pairs. The other birds would escape durin’ all of the fuss over their two fallen comrades. Sooner or later they would return & the process would repeat it’s self. But I must admit, my Grandmother/Mama sure turned those ole Concord Grapes into some wonderful “Homemade Grape Jelly”! When the grapes were ripe Mama would tell us, my brother & I, to go pick a couple large baskets for her. While we were pickin’ I remember we would first grab us each a couple of bunches & sneak off & eat’em first then get Mama hers. How sweet they were too!…”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”Oh yeah, I am Grand-paw/Papa around here”…

{{{{{ YEAH ! }}}}}…our Internet is NOW back up, on-line, & functionin’ properly. Thanks to my Bride. After a couple of hours last night and then again this afternoon workin’ with the folks at out Internet Service we’re back. It was better for us that she dealt with those issues because I would NOT have been as calm as she was through the process. In this electronic world we are now lost without access to the cyber world. I can only relate it to a Drug Habit. Once start out on it you get HOOKED! I think maybe it was best that basically I have been without it. Now to be honest I have been usin’ my cell phone but I lack both the capabilities & functions on it as are on my computer. Now, “Hey Grand-paw – What’s for Dinner”? Oh yeah, I am Grand-paw/Papa around here. Guess I had better get at it… “Hold+’em Hook”!…..BG>

…”those ole wrinkled faces”…

Heads with White/Gray/Silver Hair. Heads just tryin’ to hang on to Hair. Heads with NO Hair @ all. They weren’t always like that. The bodies aren’t as slim, trim, toned, nor as muscular as they once were. Most of us don’t like to admit to it. Time/Life has taken its toll on us. But we are still more fortunate than some of our “Ole Runnin’ Buddies” that are no long among us. To those I say “it was fun while it lasted”…Salute!

Many of the faces are heavily covered with facial hair. Some of us still have a hard time growin’ it. Voices are a bit different. Some broken, some more gravelly than before, many are more mellowed than before, several are still soft spoken, & others of us are still just as loud as always.

Lookin’ around me at lunch today was a sight. But a good sight! There are several “Old Men”, Fifteen (15) to be exact & One (1) Teenager/Grandson, that joined together, as circumstances allowed, to renew friendships. Most are retired but there are still some that are workin’.  We all looked around to see who was there. Greetin’s, hand shakes, cussin’, & yes even some “Manly Hugs” were shared. At the same time we are all lookin’ around & noticin’ “who’s not here” since our last get together. It’s as though we are inquirin’ to the others if who ever is not there is OK. It’s kinda funny, yet also serious. And as always if they’re not there they ARE talked about, good or bad, & laughed about.

We take/make time, out of our busy lives, to break bread, slurp some hot soup, sop biscuits in gravy, or graze their way around a bowl of salad (Yuck!). Cause their Wife’s or Doctor told’em they needed to & then take all the smart-ass comments about it. All in jest!

We come from various backgrounds. Many of us were from the same neighbor hood. Many of us played “Little League” ball together @ Wahouma Park. Many of us went to grammar school together. Many of us spent endless summer days at the same Swimming Pool (Cascade Plunge).

We were a blendin’ of different High Schools. But the comradery was always, and still is, there. Many were Academicians, many were Jocks, others just were what ever they wanted to be!

Many went on to College, several went into The Military, others went on to find Careers, & some started families. The years passed by, as they still do. Over the years (for various reasons) many of us kept up with others & some didn’t. Our paths went in so many different directions. That’s life!

But destiny has been kind to us. It has, for what ever reason, chosen to reunite many of us back together, once, a month to share little more than an hour to an hour & a half together. But what a fun & interestin’ time it is. Oh-h-h and the colorful conversations that are over heard! Some true, some distorted, & many just made up!

I consider myself lucky, fortunate, & blessed to be a part of this “Fellowship”. I’m sure I could use many more adjectives (there’s a $0.25 word throw-in) to describe how I feel. But then I would be admittin’ that, when I actually was in class way back when, I really was payin’ attention.

It was good to see all of those ole wrinkled faces today & I look forward to seein’em again next month.Until then,..”Hold’em Hook”!…..BG>