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January 28, 2006

everybody loves a clown


I don't usually regurgitate things I find on the net. But I found a video the other day that was hilarious. It is by far the best imitation of George W I have ever seen.

W is a very funny guy also. He is hysterical. When I am depressed I sit down with a tape of one of George W's press conferences and have a good belly laugh. It works every time. George W would make a good stand up comic in Vegas if he ever gives up his day job.

We have not had a clown in the White House since Nixon. Reagan was also funny but he was a professional entertainer not an amateur like W. They are not in the same league.

Ronnie was a good actor too and I actually thought he was president until I saw the news clip where his wife was feeding him answers to reporters’ questions. I guess in a way, we have already had our first woman president. Sorry Hillary, you won't be the first.

The Republicans may destroy the Constitution and slowly erode our liberties but we will have a good laugh while they do it.

Either click on the photo or the link blow.


Posted by roadapples at 10:33 PM | Comments (6)

January 27, 2006

f is for fish fry

What do you do when some one disses you in school in front of your peeps? You go to their crib with your cousin and best homie, knock on the door and force your way in. Then you bash the b up side the head with a sharp metal object that's what.

It's the end of the semester with only two report cards to go and I am out of here. Got some serious fish fry eatin' to take care of and It's gettin' late. The phone rings. A incoming call on a Friday late in the afternoon is never good news. But I can't stand a ringing phone.

It is Tamara's mom. The story she has to tell is bizarre even for me. Female teenage students invading the home of another female teenage student has never happened before and I find it hard to believe.

Tamara is one of my exceptional ed students and has a temper meaner than a bag of tom cats. Katey is another one of my students. She is small and dainty - all girlie but with a hair trigger cocked tighter than panty hose on a fat lady.

Three days ago, Tamara and Katy were best buds. Two days ago, they were ready to rearrange each other's braids. Words were said, a bottle was raised, some more words were said, a few "f" words were carelessly flung around, and the safety aid was called.

But It was not over and they both knew it.

Katey and her homies will be ticketed and given a slap on the wrist because they are underage. It will cost them three bills and some com time. But street cred is valuable, on the g.

I notified my principal that Officer Taylor wanted a call from him asap then I called child protective services. Tamara was cut on the face and I had to report the incident.

The beer battered cod will have to wait a little longer. Damn, I hope all the corn muffins are not all gone by the time I get there.

Posted by roadapples at 08:41 PM | Comments (4)

January 25, 2006

liquor store shoot out

At seven, the phone rings. I hesitate. Should I answer it or let the answering machine pick it up. I came in early to get some work done and I am not in the mood to hear some lame excuse for not coming to school from one of my students.

"Good Morning"

"I won't be in today." It's Jamie and I don't hear the usual fake cough. Instead there is a slightly uneasy tremble in her voice.

"What's up Jamie?"

"I just can't.... It's my boyfriend - he...", her voice begins to crack. She begins to break up emotionally and I can not make out what she is saying.

"Wait a minute Jamie. Let me turn the volume up. Ok, now tell me again."

She continues to cry for a few seconds more. Finally she blurts out that her boyfriend was shot at the liquor store only a few blocks from her house.

He was dead.

She was not with him when it happened - some friends had to tell her. Why? How? But I don't ask. I don't want to upset her even more. She well tell me later.

"I'm so sorry Jamie", I tell her but it comes out sounding mechanical like a recording. I have said the same words too many times before.

"Where are you Jamie? Are you at your mom's?"


"Ok, just stay there and don't come in. When is the funeral?"

"I called his sister and I think it will be this Saturday."

"Ok, just stay out till next week and we will talk then." I make a mental note to let the school pschycologist know.

I sit stunned and drained. I stare at the pile of algebra class work on my desk waiting for me to grade and record. Slowly I compose myself and begin preparing for the day.

Students will be arriving soon and I have give each of them a cherry "Good morning". Many of them will have their own trajedies to tell me.

Posted by roadapples at 05:07 AM | Comments (3)

January 24, 2006

flip flop insanity

The Crazy Farm

Why does my daughter insists on wearing flip flops to school. It is Wisconsin. It is the middle of winter. It is freakin' cold out there and she wants to expose her toes.

When she was in middle school, she insisted on wearing shoes with three inch heels. I was constantly afraid she would fall off and plummet to the ground, breaking every bone in her body. Ok, maybe I was over reacting. That's what dads do.

Can anybody please explain this to me? I would send the question to "Useless Advice from Useless Men" but I am afraid the answer would be totally useless.

Posted by roadapples at 07:49 AM | Comments (8)

January 23, 2006

free candy bars today

Attention Deficit Disorder is a real problem here in Milwaukee Public Schools and I suspect else where also. No one is sure what causes the disorder but there are researchers working with owls trying to figure it out. It appears that the ability to focus vision in the direction of sound is fundamental to all vertebrates.

The brain can be selective with sounds. That explains why when I say "turn your book to page 67" in a loud voice no one seems to notice. But if I whisper "free candy bars today", I have no trouble getting the attention of everyone in the room.

All teenagers, husbands, and government workers have selective hearing to some degree and it is normal. Attention Deficit Disorder is an extreme condition. Those afflicted with it can not seem to focus on only one sound or activity for very long before being distracted. Teachers and moms reading this post already know of which I speak.

I have a student that can not do her class work by herself. It is not her intelligence but her ability to focus. I sit with her the whole time she is here and keep her on task. When she becomes distracted, I start asking her questions related to the material she is working on. I listen to her read and follow along with a copy of the material. When she looks up, it is important for me to be there in her field of vision focused on what she is doing. Every time she answers a question in any activity, I must respond with a positive comment or she starts to lose interest.

She was always lost in regular high school settings. Here in this school, she is responding well to one on one attention. It is tedious and I get nothing else done while she is here for two or three hours but it seems to be paying off. Her attention span is increasing.

I found the article below in Scientific American. It provides a rudimentary explanation of the research using owls to try and understand the mechanism that controls sound/vision synchronization. Said another way, the researchers are trying to understand the basic way all vertebrates including high school students go to a state of attention. It is a very short and fascinating read.

Owl's Ability to Link Sight and Sound Could Be Key to Treating Attention Disorders

Posted by roadapples at 12:49 PM | Comments (2)

January 22, 2006


In every photograph I ever saw of him, he always wore a hat. In 1948 he was twenty nine with two sons and counting. If he was in the right mood, he was an ex-marine who could clean out a honky tonk in the time it took to order a six pack to go. His daddy back in Kenucky taught him two things: how to dig for coal and how to use his fists. Many of his problems were solved with a good right hook and coal mining paid for the good times.

A man like Bud does not wait around when the world starts to close in on him. When number three came along in late December of 1949, it was time to make some choices. Sticking around Hannah, Wyoming working for the railroad digging coal to run the big steam locomotives and paying the never ending rent and grocery bills was one.

Warm sunny days in California wine country and a fresh start was the other. There was plenty of young women working the orchards there who would appreciate what he had to offer.

By June of the next year, he was ready to make up his mind. He packed his gear, fired up his 1946 Ford Deluxe and headed for his promised land.

Time can change a man - make him look at life and the choices he made with a broader perspective. It can make him regret those choices - seek redemption and a second chance. Sometimes fate lends a helping hand. Most times it don't.

In 1966, over powering guilt or the desire to relive the good times and correct his mistakes finally forced him to make another choice. He could do nothing and always wonder about the sons he left in Hannah or he could try to find them. But sixteen years of living can cover up tracks and make it hard to find the things he was looking for. He hired a detective to do the foot work. He had them located in a state in the deep south and a letter was mailed.

Things were looking good but fate would only tease him. Before he could make his move, he died suddenly on a lonely stretch of highway near Oakland, California. He had a blood alcohol level so high it was a wonder he could even find his pickup let alone start it.

He had no more choices to make - all the rest would be made by some one else.

Posted by roadapples at 09:28 AM | Comments (4)

January 21, 2006

blog tips for me

John Steinbeck

Good writing is not an easy thing - at least for me. Mathematicians are not known for their great prose. Ever read Mathematica Principia? If you ever have trouble sleeping, curl up in bed with that great masterpiece. Yeah, I know. It was not meant to be read for enjoyment by a layman. But a nice funny story here and there by the authors wouldn't hurt to liven it up a bit. No?

Since becoming an at-risk teacher three years ago, I have been obliged to teach other things like creative writing. I found I needed a lot of practice in the subject to hone my barely existent skills. I have a few authors that I use for guidance to help understand writing technique and style. My favorite is John Steinbeck followed closely by Earnest Hemingway. I also search the blogs for examples of good writing. I add them to my Blog Links as I find them. I started the following list of tips that I use when I write a post.

1. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White: buy it, read it, do it.

2. Less is always more. Don't keep writing the same thing over and over.

3. Don't write a stream of consciousness. Don't write every little detail. Most readers like a little mystery.

4. Write as often as possible. The more you write, the easier it gets.

5. Never stop searching for examples of good writing. You will know it when you see it.

6.Last but certainly not least, don't write for your audience. Write what you enjoy and are passionate about and your audience will find you. If they don't right away, don't give up.

Posted by roadapples at 08:12 AM | Comments (5)

January 20, 2006

loft bed


Like Red Green always says, "If they can't find you handsome, let them find you handy." God, I love that show. All those zany characters on that show remind me of my relatives. I would feel right at home around any of them.

I passed handsome some time ago so now my wife must settle with handy. Actually, I am not that handy but I can plug in a power saw and I know which end of a screwdriver to hold. So in that spirit, this is the beginning of what I like to call "the screw can". But my wife pointed out that some people might get the wrong impression. She suggested "the handy man's compendium". I can barely spell the word so if someone has a better name, I would be grateful.

My daughter started to outgrow her room. When the floor became permanently covered with an assortment of dirty clothes, lost homework assignments, candy wrappers, and an assortment of other sundries, she decided to call the Handy Man to the rescue. (uh that would be me) So I searched the web until I found plans for a sturdy loft bed that could be made fairly cheaply. The finished bed is in the photo to the left above.

I modified the design though. Instead of a ladder, I bought an aluminum step ladder from the local mercantile. Then I could use it to change the light bulbs on the second floor instead of hauling one up from the garage.

The plans call for a head board, a foot board, and two safety guards. I only installed the head board so that my daughter could climb onto the bed from the end if she wanted. The wall serves as one safe guard and I did not think she needed the other. It would have been a hassle to take on and off. I figured it would wind up in the rafters of the garage someday anyway so why bother. I know it is not as safe, but she has never had any problems falling out of bed. I know what you are thinking - there is always the first time. My wife already reminded me.

She has room for a book case and chair underneath and her floor is fairly clean at least one day a week - the day before allowance day.

Click below to download the plans in PDF format. I found it at http://familyfun.go.com/decorating-ideas/

Download file

And remember, I'm pulling for ya.

Posted by roadapples at 12:09 PM | Comments (1)

January 18, 2006

say goodby to romeo

Click to enlarge.

A teacher could not ask for a nicer group of students. I have between 25 and 28 students at any one time. Some come for a semester; other stay as long as four years. The charismatic young man in the middle of the gaggle of girls in the photo above is the current class Romeo. He will be nineteen in May.

A lifetime, four kids, two wives, 5 mortgages, eight automobiles, three dogs, one cat, and an assortment of pets ago, I would have been happy to follow this guy around just to have a chance at his cast offs. I was not in this fellow’s league when I was his age.

I love his excuses when he does not show up for school. "My girl won't let me get out of bed, dude."

So being a much more mature male and his teacher, I say things like, "You have to think about your future and forget about the distractions."

Yeah right, the distractions.

Did I really say that? Yyyesss.

Did he agree with me? Yyyyeeesss.

Do you think he listened? Nnnnooooooo.

I call him my amigo and if I was 35 years younger, I would have been his brutha from anutha mutha, G.

But alas, he has stayed in bed one time too many and I must reassign him. By the laws of the state of Wisconsin, he now meets the definition of truancy. Rules and regulations you understand.

I will miss you dude.

Posted by roadapples at 01:32 PM | Comments (2)

January 16, 2006


Don't feel sorry for him. He pooped on the throw rug by the front door, spilled a glass of milk that was left on the end table by the couch, rummaged through one of the girls' backpack until he found a left over Snickers bar, and tipped over the trash can in the kitchen spilling coffee grinds and orange peels all over the floor. He can sit outside for an hour.

No use, Charlie Brown, looking at me through the patio door with those big brown eyes; it won't do you a bit a good. And you can stop that barely audible moan of yours. Well ok maybe you can come in after you have served 30 minutes, if your good.

Yes I see you there with you tail tucked under you. Well, the trash wasn't that bad to clean up. Heck, the floor needed a good scrubbing and mopping anyway. Ok, you can come in after 10 minutes.

It must be cold out there huh Charlie Brown. That candy bar was bad for you but you seem all right. And the milk cleaned up nice and there were no stains on the hard wood floor. Ok you can come in after 5 minutes.

What was I thinking? It is way too cold out there for you. I am the worst pet owner in the world. Daddy's sorry. Come here boy. Yes, him is a good dog, him is.

Posted by roadapples at 07:55 AM | Comments (4)

January 14, 2006

love in a haze

Words are so inadequate sometimes. Yet, there are easily over one million words in the English language. Conservatively speaking, young children have the ability to learn and use three hundred words by the time they reach kindergarten. I like to tease my fifteen year old that her first word was 'freedom'. It is an inside joke that only the two of us would understand.

Take this photo for example. It was taken in early June. The three females are looking over the railing that guards the boardwalk of Santa Monica, California. With the mountains in the background, the expanse of sea shell strewn sand in the middle ground, and the beautiful azure blue sky as a backdrop, the view of the beach is, by any standard, stunning. But describing the general scene is not the difficulty. There are more than enough words for that. It is what the photographer feels deep inside that's the bugaboo.

Take note of the shortest one. She is obviously quite different and, in some ways, distant from the other two. Why is she the only one with a hat? Why does she seem to be desperately hanging on to the arm of the young girl next to her?

It all started subtly - so slowly no one noticed at first most of all the woman with the hat. In April, she was having low level headaches that would not seem to go away. Always four steps ahead of her husband, now her walk was slowing down. She seemed to be a little confused sometimes and occasionally could not finish sentences or thoughts.

As is often the case, the photographer put away the digital camera after the vacation and did not look at the photos again until a few months later.

After she went home, the symptoms became unbearable and very evident to close family members. On the fourth doctor visit in mid July, the husband went with her to the doctor's office. She was unable to understand and tell the doctor what she had become. She looked to her husband to speak for her. The doctor became visibly anxious and concerned. A scan was ordered and analyzed. It was a tumor the size of an orange in the left frontal lobe of her brain. The doctors have a one hundred dollar word for it, glioblastoma multiform, a very aggressive form of brain cancer.

After surgery, eight days in the hospital, and a month's time to recover from the incision, the husband and his wife was sitting on the deck enjoying time together talking about recent events in their lives. He was trying to help her regain some of the memory she had lost. The California vacation came up. He took out the camera to show his wife the photos he had taken.

This one hit him in the stomach like a fist with a roll of quarters. Suddenly it all made sense. Deep down inside, it all made sense to him now. How could he not know it then? Why did he take his wife to California on a vacation for God's sake when she was so sick? There are no words to describe the guilt he felt for his inability to fully understand what was happening to the one person who meant everything to him when he snapped this family photo. All the evidence he needed was right there in the viewfinder in front of his eye.

Posted by roadapples at 10:28 AM | Comments (8)

January 12, 2006

drop of sunshine

"Seeno seena see see see" he sang in a foreign tongue I did not understand. It did not matter; his giggle was in a language that is universal. I know it by heart; I have heard it on every playground in my neighborhood. He did not notice that I was watching him trying to understand his song. He pulled his little suitcase as he sang, weaving in out of the crowd of passengers waiting to board planes to destinations unknown. First this way and then that, he would pull his little choo choo on wheels. Darting in and out of twosomes and threesomes, he would look up and smile but no one noticed him.

When he tired of his song, he came and sat near me. I leaned over and smiled. He smiled back. Looking around for his mom, I gave her a smile too as if to reassure her I meant no harm. She nodded her approval and turned back to the book in her lap.

I took out the camera from my satchel, turned it on, and pointed it at him. He instinctively grinned and posed for me. I leaned over and handed the Canon to him and he giggled and squeaked with glee when he saw the photo of himself on the LCD. Never a spoken word passed between us. In a blink of an eye he was gone, boarding a plane for a country I don't remember.

Posted by roadapples at 10:28 AM | Comments (3)

January 11, 2006

a tale of two cousins

Trina and Kianna are cousins. They have the same dreams for the future: romance, a nice home, kids, a good job someday. But they grew up in two different worlds. The father of one was an uncle of the other. I say "was" because he died at an early age. I am not sure why. I know a lot about my students but not everything.

One grew up in a loving family with a doting mom willing and able to dispense hugs and swats as needed. Because she lived in a home full of sisters and brothers to care for, and a stable environment, one grew up knowing that she was loved and needed. I don't have to spend too much time motivating her to succeed; she does most of it herself. And, with a simple phone call, her mom is always ready to lend a hand.

The other has been in and out of more foster homes than she could count. Her mother has been addicted to crack and any other boutique drug-of-the-month available on the street. She has very little motivation and not much of a sense that she has a future beyond next Friday night.

My school is an alternative high school for at-risk students. I only have twenty five students at any one time, give or take a couple. But I teach every subject they need to graduate and they need twenty two credits. They come to my school as the last resort. You might say, I am their last and only hope - a lifeboat so to speak. Some get in and make it to shore, but many don't. These two cousins represent a good example of the range of students that are in my care.

Can you tell which is which by looking at them? I couldn't if I didn't know them. They both have beautiful smiles and a carefree air about them. The resiliency of youth can mask a lot of deep seated anger and hurt sometimes and this was a good day for both of them. They have their ups and downs. Recently, the one that needed a good home started living with the one that had one. There have been disputes between the moms in the past but blood is thicker than water. I wonder how long it will last.

Posted by roadapples at 05:45 PM | Comments (5)

January 10, 2006

uneasy rider


Holding on for dear life, I have become so old and decrepit that I must ride behind a younger man – a doctor no less. The scooter belongs to the young fellow in the photo. He is Dr. Paul Daniel Hyden and he instructs under and post grads in all things mathematical at Clemson University in South Carolina. Ok, so he can’t help me with my lumbago. But he will come in handy when I am to gosh darn old to cut the mustard or find my own primes.

Sorting my pills by color and weight would be a nice job for him also. There is no end to the things he could do for me given his math skills. I can’t wait until he can take me on a random walk in the park. Get it – random walk? Don’t worry about it; it’s a math joke.

It’s been a while since I saw him last but not to worry. I have an appointment to see him in April. The plane tickets are already purchased and I have begun stocking up on chewing gum and Sudafed. The whole family will be going. Get ready Doctor; I have some integrals that have been giving me problems lately. I need you to look at them.

Enough already with the math jokes old man; now take you pill and call him in the morning.

Posted by roadapples at 07:50 AM | Comments (2)

January 08, 2006

easy rider


Before Kawawsaki there was BSA. Before Yamaha there was Triumph. And before Honda there was Norton. From the early fifties to the late sixties, sales of lightweight bikes smaller than 700 cc in the US was dominated by the Brits. The motorcycle you see in the photo above is a 1962 snortin' Norton. In 1970. a young fellow with meager resources could purchase a used one in fairly good condition for about five hundred dollars.

Of course, living in Wisconsin does not allow for riding year around. Winter time required one to drive the beater with one broken windshild wiper and a door that wouldn't open on the drivers side. Talk about living dangerously.

Being from Brittan, the Norton had metric size bolt heads and nuts. So the shade tree mechanic in the photo did not have the proper tools to help his nephew (the doofus sitting on the ground with the shit eating grin on his face) get his bike back on the road. The back tire was flat, the headlamp was out, it badly needed a tuneup, and the rods were knocking. Ok, ok, maybe it wasn't in fairly good condition like the newspaper ad said. But when it was running, that bike was more fun than you could imagine.

Posted by roadapples at 04:50 AM | Comments (10)

January 07, 2006

poor season

I have no shame and I like to live my life a little dangerously. My wife said if I ever posted this photo, she would pack her bags and leave me. But she is not in the habit of reading this blog - not very often anyway. So if in the future you find that I am constantly whinning about the lack of clean skivvies and home cooked meals you will know why.

Last summer, I had an epiphany. It is not that we are both teachers and have no income in the summer or that I have way too much time on my hands. Well maybe it is. Mainly I can’t see spending 13 green-bucks for something that lasts about 2 minutes and looks like a full moon in November. The crown of my head is completely bald. I look like an old English friar. Besides, my wife did as good a job as a professional. I told herl where to cut and which size comb accessory to use. Lately, I have been doing the job myself. I don't have a recent photo because it is to hard to hold the clippers and the camera at the same. I am not that coordinated.

I have a few tips for those brave souls among you who want to do this at home:

1. Be careful when you come around the the top of the ears with bare clippers. Any slip or too much pressure, and you will be paying a visit to you local emergency room.

2. Be prepared for the sound of laughter when your friends find out. You will need skin like an alligator and a good sense of humor.

3. You will need to depend on your loved ones to tell you how it looks in the back. Be very careful because they may lie to you and tell you it is fine to increase the laughter from your friends. See tip #2.

Posted by roadapples at 10:27 AM | Comments (6)

January 06, 2006

you want funny?

Ferry across the Wisconsin River

As I travelled around the blogoshere this morning waiting for my students to arrive in their usual delightful mood, my mathematical mind unconsciously began to sort the blogs I found into some sort of esoteric and barely understandable table. The kind that only real eggheads with years of math science education padding their resume are able to read. This is what I came up:

1. funny 2. not funny

I don’t do funny. If you want funny try this one. Don’t get me wrong, I like funny but it’s not my style. Funny is for younger guys. They are still rebelling against the “man”, full of righteous indignation with fire in their bellies. Young Turks that can still remember when they were dragged into the principal’s office and forced to apologize for a school newspaper article that was dripping with sarcasm and critical of the principal’s stupid rules. Yes Steven John, I am talking about you.

I lost my biting sarcasm a long time ago or most of it anyway. It peaked at thirty five during my mid-life crisis when I bought a Honda 750 and nearly killed myself. It has been dwindling ever since. Now nothing surprises or shocks me except the wrinkled old man that keeps staring back at me in the morning. Now I live to embarrass my children. It is something I am very good at - a natural.

Posted by roadapples at 02:07 PM | Comments (3)

January 05, 2006

family tradition

Last night my oldest daughter asked, "Dad have there been a member of our family in every war?"

"Yes", I replied, "all the way back to the Civil War, as far as I can figure, there have been at least one if not more in every major war including Nam."

"Would you want me to enlist when I am older and fight in Iraq?"

Where did this woman child come from? Yesterday, she went shopping with her mom to buy a dress for winter formal. Today she asks me if I want her to go to some strange far off land on the other side of the planet and fight in a war I don't completely understand.

How do I answer her? I am a veteran and I come from a long line of veterans. Whether to seek adventure, fortune, or fame, my family has served as honorable as possible given the vulgarities of war. There is no honor in killing, even if it is to protect one's own. But this is my little darling daughter. I fed her, cared for her, and changed her shitty diapers. When she was 5, I held her hand as we walked to her first day of elementary school. I watched her grow from a gangly, little girl with more questions than I could answer in to a young woman of fifteen planning for college.

"No father wants for their children to fight and die in a war hon.", I said sheepishly.

But hell, if everyone felt like that, you couldn't get a decent war off the ground, as Archie would say.

Posted by roadapples at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)

January 04, 2006

coal miner's worst nightmare

President Truman, 1948

"Miners found alive" the headlines of the local morning paper screamed. This is a headline that will surely go down in national media history. But unlike the funny headline to the left reporting Dewey's presidential win in 1948 by a landslide no less, this will go down in press history as the saddest.

I can not even imagine how the families of the Tallmansville, West Virginia coal miners must feel right now. This is another case of media frenzy, greed, misplaced competition to be the first, and downright maleficence.

Posted by roadapples at 08:39 AM | Comments (2)

January 02, 2006

grandpa elvis 1897 -1971

Hand me my reading specs, Johnnie. They're over there on the dinner table by the red sugar bowl, the one your Grandma Elsie bought in Alanthis Grove when we were first married. Yeah, yeah, I know, stop whining. I know you don’t like me calling you Johnnie. It aint fittin' and all for a grown man in his 20’s to be called by a boy’s name. Now what was it you wanted to know? Oh yeah, you wanted to know about the particulars of my birth. OK, for the hundredth time, I’ll tell you the story one more time.

It was in the dead of winter in 1897, and your Great-Grandma was helpin' to bring the cows in when she got the pains. The both of them, my mom and dad, were over in the lower 40, this side of Indian Creek, when she yelled for my dad to go fetch Doc Williamson. Men don’t stand around asking stupid questions when their womenfolk tell them to fetch the doctor. It don’t take a lot of high falootin book learnin' like you got to figure that out. All I needed to do farmin' in my day was what I got by the third grade. Besides, there was no time for such luxuries 'cause dad had nobody else to help him with chores and there were six younger kids to feed.

Get me one of them fancy sodie pops from the ice box, will ya. My throat is gettin’ kind of dry from all this jawin’. They’re back there behind the powdered milk next to the left over cornbread.

Now where was I? Uuuhh... Oh yeah now I remember. Well sir, Dad got mom in the house, hitched up Brownie to the buggy and went for the Doctor. It was a good thing it was late afternoon after the Doc had made his rounds to the neighboring farms, tending to the sick, or Dad would have had a heck of time finding him. Not that Gentry County was all that big, mind ya, but it had just snowed five inches the night before and some of the roads weren’t near cleared yet. They had to stop at the Rawley farm to get Sadie Rawley. She was the best midwife in the county and she didn’t mind fixin’ a little somethin’ for the men to eat, as long as they stayed out of the way and didn’t cause a fuss.

Dad told me the whole job wasn’t much trouble, but Mom had a different take on the situation. It seems, I was what Doc Williamson called a breach baby. The Doc and Mrs. Rawley had to work way up into the night trying to get me to slide out. I guess there was a whole lot of hollerin’ and carryin’ on but finally it was all over about breakfast time.

Mrs. Rawley cleaned up, fixed some cakes with molasses and sausages for the men, and helped Doc Williamson with his team and buggy. The date was February 22, and I was the second child born to Henry Jackson and Olive Larue Dalbey. My sister Elsie was the first and there were six more to come after me: Zelpha, Raymond, Jackson, Vernetta, William, and my baby sister, Ermel Elizabeth.

Posted by roadapples at 01:02 PM | Comments (2)

January 01, 2006

creatures great and small


Charlie Brown was sleeping so peacefully under the tree we hated to wake him. But it was New Year's Day and time to pack away the ornaments, lights and tinsels for another year. Don't worry, he will move upstairs to our bedroom to finish his nap in his usual slumbering spot under our bed. Charlie Brown, or Chuck for short, is a Bichon Frise with a wonderful temperament. They make wonderful pets for families. Chuck meets each family member at the door with such warmth, affection, jumping, and friendly growling that you'd swear he/she had been gone for years. We have a "Beware of Mean Dog" sign on the front door but it is mainly to scare away the burglars. If some one were to break in, I am certain Chuck would give him the same friendly treatment he gives Grandma. Heck, Chuck might even help carry out the loot.

Charlie is the best and most wonderful pet we have ever had and we have tried them all, just about. Lizards, gold fishes, turtles, hamsters, white rats, rabbits, and one pet rock have entertained our children through the years. Except for the rock, they have all been a pain in the pitute for the care givers, mom and dad. Turtles don't show or give a lot of affection in return for their bed and breakfast. I mean no offense to you turtle lovers out there.

We had a tom cat once. His name was Binks. By the time he was 6 years old, he was so mean that he made a better watch cat than our watch dog. He had a regular habit of biting every one in the family on a regular basis. When my youngest daughter, Erin, was only 7 or 8 she was petrified of him. Before entering every room, she would peek around the corner to make sure the cat was not there. He went to his eternal reward in cat heaven or the other place more likely.

There is one caveat. Bichons do not shed any hair; they must be brushed every single day without fail. If you don't, their coats will mat in very short order.

Posted by roadapples at 09:28 AM | Comments (6)