Mundane Doesn't Describe It

For the slackatudinally challenged.

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Location: United States

I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting. Mark Twain, Hard work doesn't harm anyone, but I do not want to take any chances. - Unknown, I am retired and have tried to do as little as possible - slowly. Me.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Picture Sunday

It's a picture Sunday. I've got to start getting all my pictures I have together on disc and see what I have. I used to have all of them on my old computer before it crashed. Thankfully just about all of them were backed up. These are just a few of new and old. Enjoy.

Tom on the prowl.

A little bit older picture of the pond, but I like the reflections.

Click for larger image.

This is Neuschwanstein Castle on the top. I visited there a couple of time and one time while walking down to the village I took the picture on the bottom. Wished I'd had a better camera back then.

Click for larger image

Hope everyone has a good day. Be seeing ya.

I forgot to add I had a great surpirse yesterday. With all the family here I get so caught up in the running back and forth for them, but yesterday my youngest brother surpirsed me. While sitting at the computer I look out the window and he's weedeating the curb in front of the house. Now this isn't a small job, it's about 234 feet (71.3 meters). I went outside while he was doing it and thanked him. I told him while he was in the mood, the siding on the house needed to be washed and there is still weed eating to be done out by the pond, and........

For some reason I feel extremely lucky he did the curb.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

TV Conundrum

I was wondering last night about TV. I’ve said before I grew up with one channel and you watched what was on. Now of days there are so many channel and different way of receiving TV that it would seem that you could never see it all. However, that’s not the case.

If you’re a habitual channel surfer like me, unless something really catches your attention, it’s push the buttons and push the buttons and push the buttons. I really fear I’ll end up with carpal tunnel syndrome one day.

I guess I surf so much because there never seems to be anything new. Plus I’ve decided at my age now, I’ve seen pretty much ever premise they’ll use for a show. Yeah another detective show, another sitcom or another drama on subjects that’s been dealt with a million times. I’m not even going to go into the waste of time infomercials are.

I’ve stuck mostly with stuff on Discovery, The History Channel, The Learning Channel, Educational TV and a few others. However, it seems now of days they’re even copying the reality shows from other channels. BTW I don’t like reality shows. With any new shows on the mainstream channels I do start getting interested in, it seems like they yank them off before anyone can start getting comfortable with the show or characters. Then they put on re-runs or recaps of the show and expect that to keep you interested for the rest of the year.

So I guess I’m saying the proliferation of TV channels only diluted the quality of the shows. No new ideas and actually no new anything. If you haven’t seen it before, wait and you will.

Anybody out there got any ideas. What are some of your favorite programs?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Off To The Races

It’s a madhouse here today. I usually have some peaceful time in the morning before everybody gets up and starts stirring around, not today though.

FMom was up a little after I was and she’s on the warpath. Awhile back she told a s-I-l that she woke up tired in the mornings. The s-I-l told her to get some Mountain Dew because it had a lot of caffeine in it. So she did and now FMom is a Mountain Dew addict. She has to have that first thing in the morning. Well she went to get one this morning and one of the visiting relatives drank the last one last night. So she knocking at my door and tells me about it and I go to the refrigerator and look and there’s none there. She asks me can I go and get some and I tell her it’s not even 6:00 am and there’s nothing open yet. Remember we live in a small town. So I get a shower and get dressed and I’m at the store at 6:00 am and I purchase her drinks and stuff we need for the house.

This morning when I get back the whole family is up and in a flutter. A relative decides she will cook pancakes this morning and I hear her complaining of how the kitchen is a mess. Usually when I cook and make dinner I put everything in the sink to soak that night and start cleaning everything in the morning. I didn’t mention that they’re usually dead asleep at this time and I have time to get the house cleaned.

I found out this morning also that I have two brothers coming in today and FMom is using her code language again to tell me what needs to be done around the house.

Well it’s off to the races. Oh for a slackerly day.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Drinking Contest

As I said yesterday, every February the family I rented from in Germany and I would go on a vacation up in the mountain past Heidelberg. They would invite all their family and friend up to a small town for the week. Of about 35 people I was the only naturally English speaking person and only American there. I knew enough to get by, but everyone there was always kind enough to translate if I got lost, and I was lost a lot.

The little town we stayed in was very small, maybe 10 or 12 buildings. There were 4 Gausthauses (combo restaurant, bar and motel) in town and we were all spread out at them. We all met at one Gausthaus to eat and party at because it had the largest area.

I remember or sort of don’t remember one night I was sitting at a table with everybody and they start ordering shots of something called Kuemmerling.

I found out we were playing a game where you put the bottles side by side and because of the shape after enough bottles where together a circle was formed. So that night everyone at the table would go buy rounds of Kuemmerling. We drank and drank and drank, but even as tipsy as I was getting I could see we weren’t getting a circle made. I don’t know how it became an international drinking contest, but by the end of the night my friends were kidding me about how Americans couldn’t hold their alcohol.

By the end of the night I had a lot more that I should have and it appeared everybody at the table was holding up pretty good except for me. So I tell everybody it’s time I go and lie down and start to leave. The Gausthaus owner and a friend there wouldn’t hear of me walking the 50 yards to where I was staying. The Gausthaus owner goes and gets his car and he, my friend and I drive 50 yards straight down the street to where I was staying. They get me up to my room and I go to sleep.

The next morning I wake up and I knew I had died, because no one can feel that bad and not be dead. I stumble through getting myself ready for the day and I knew I had to have one thing – coffee. I’m ready and walk the 50 yards down to the Gausthaus. I walk in and sit at a table and the owner comes out and he’s amazed I’m awake and asking for anything. The owner brings me coffee and I ask him how the others at the table made out after the drinkfest. He starts laughing and said they all had only about 3 or 4 Kuemmerlings together. When I asked what he meant, he said after the first 3 or 4 they would bring bottles back and tell him to fill theirs with water and for me to have the real thing. It finally dawned on me why we didn’t make a complete circle of bottles. However, the owner did tell me that I had drunk the most Kuemmerling of any person he had ever seen.

After the second pot of coffee the others started coming in for breakfast. They would come over and slap me on the back and laugh tell me how great I did the night before. The laughter and slapping on the back were the last things I needed. My head felt like it was inside a giant bell being rung. The day progressed and I start feeling better and we all end up at the same table that night. Someone mentions Kuemmerling and I just shake my head no. I stuck with bottled water for the rest of the vacation.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


While I was in the military and living in Germany, I was luckier than most living there. When I first got there I had to live in the dorms and had roommates. This didn’t go over big with me because I hated the dorm life and was waiting to move out. A couple of months after moving there I finally did.

How I was lucky is the family I rented from. I didn’t move into an apartment building or a single house. I had an attic apartment in their compound. A little background on the layout. They had a shoe shop on the bottom floor and my landlady’s apartment on the second. Off my landlady’s apartment was a large patio and at the other end was another apartment where her daughter and grandson lived. On the third floor was my apartment. It was only four rooms and furnished but it was one of the best places I ever lived.

I was the first person my landlady ever rented to and she wanted an American because her grandson was learning English in school. Oh I forgot to mention that to get to my apartment I had to go through my landlady’s apartment to the stairs up to my place. I wasn’t too keen on this at first, but soon it became just normal.

Where I was lucky is that after awhile I became like one of the family. I would eat dinner with them from time to time, I spent every Christmas and New Years with them and I would take a week vacation with them every February. I knew a lot of people on base living in the dorm that hated Germany. Their lives consisted of going to work, the dorm, the club on base and back to the dorm. They hardly ever ventured out and their whole outlook was from that viewpoint. I was lucky in that I got to know a family that was kind and considerate and who took me into their home and family and made me feel welcomed.

Everyone has peaks and valleys they go through in their lives. The four years I lived there were one of the highest peaks I’ve ever had in my life. I lost contact with them as I did so many people I used to know, but I’ve always had fond memories of the good caring people they were.

I’ll probably write more about this time because it was such a good time. The places and the people will always stay with me.

Two pictures taken of a parade from my balcony.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Not Much To Say II.

Not much to say again today. I was trying to upload somemore pictures, but blogger isn't working well for me. I'll try again later.

After trying all day, I can finally post pictures.

Olivia asked for mud so here it is.

And to cool off after the mud escapades.

Hopefully I'll have something to write about soon. Thanks to everyone for dropping by.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Not much to say.

Don't have much to say today, so I'll just throw in some pictures.




A little FM at the swimming pool.

Hope everyone has a good day.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

My Sister’s Ring

To my Mother and Father were born six children, two girls the oldest and four boys the youngest. A 20-year span stretches between the first birth and the last. Except for one child there was always an older sibling. My oldest sister as with most ‘oldest’ children, took on and was given a lot of responsibilities in raising us younger ones. She never stopped that as long as she lived.

As in any large family there are stories we remember about each other. For my eldest sister there are many. She was one of those people that had a glorious temper, but just as swiftly and overwhelming as her temper could be, so was her ability for kindness and love. She was the one that liked to plan the family gatherings and to make sure the family farmhouse was just right for each one. We all call FMom at least once a day, but she would call her three or four times a day. Although nothing had changed much in their day between calls, she would call to let her know she was there and that she loved her.

Yesterday I took a trip into town with FMom. As we were driving along the sunlight was streaming into the car and FMom told me, “She’s talking to me.” I looked over at FMom who has a ring on her finger that belonged to my sister. In the ring are tiny diamonds that sparkled in the sunlight. FMom said a couple of times; “She’s talking to me very strongly today.” When FMom first told me of the ring, I tried to tell her, no you’re sitting by the lamp or the sunlight is directly on the ring at the moment. But FMom would insist, “She’s talking to me.”

My sister passed away awhile back, but Fmom wears the ring everyday. My sister’s passing was sudden and surprising and it hit us all very hard, but none harder than FMom. I know better than to think a sparkling ring is my sister talking to us, but it really is. We never forget those who are gone and we shouldn’t dwell on their passing to the point of ignoring everything else. But I’ve come to know that my sister’s ring brings back cherished memories to my Mom and that the ring is talking to her, as now it does to me.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bit Players

It happened again yesterday. Unfortunately it happens a lot. It happens to everybody and even though this is a very small town, I’ve gotten used to it. What I’m talking about is you see someone you haven’t seen in 20-30 years and you have no clue who they are. I must be a unique individual because it seems everybody knows who I am, but damn if I can recognize a one of them. People I went to high school with and people I grew up with will come up to me and start talking, and my mind will go into overdrive. Who are they!? Listen to every word so that I might pick up something, anything to tell me who they are.

Have I gotten past trying to fake it - not really? I keep thinking it would be very rude to tell someone, “Look I have no clue who you are, who are you?” I guess it would save a lot of time and trouble, but I know if I went up to someone all happy to see them and they had no clue, it would not be a nice feeling.

What got me to thinking about this is, sometimes I look at life and people as a movie or a show. I guess it says something for our culture. I’ve thought many times with people I know, am I a main player in their lives or just a bit player that will fall to the wayside. We all have family, friends and acquaintances, but I’ve found sometimes even people you’re very close to, you end up being a bit player in their life’s movie.

Everyone wants to be the star and to many people the world revolves around them. However, I realized long ago that we’re all bit player and what most of us want is just to be recognized from time to time. I guess that’s what makes me feel so bad when I don’t recognize people from 30 years ago. Sure we all change, grow older and don’t look anything like we used to, but that’s just the outer shell. What made us what we are, is still inside and that inside is what should be recognized.

I blame my not remembering on a lot of things. I’ve gotten older, the memory just isn’t the same or they’ve changed so much, but it doesn’t stop the feeling that I should know. I guess what I’m trying to say is, even though many people are bit players in our lives; we should treat each other as stars.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I Am The Goat!

I got the pond done with the weedeating yesterday and fought snakes and insufferable heat. I can’t believe I kept going back because even though it’s not a large area, about 5 minutes at a time is all I could take. Plus between the one snake I saw and the many little limbs I thought were snakes, I had enough scares. Today I have to figure out how to fix the lawnmower. I don’t know where the energy is coming from lately, but I need to take advantage of it while it’s there.

IVG left me a word in the café yesterday - pamplemousse. He said it had nothing to do with dessert or hair care products. As usual I ended up googling everywhere and I did my research.

Sorbet au Pamplemousse might be of interest.
Pamplemousses which is a district of Mauritius which is an island country in the southwest Indian Ocean.
Monsieur Pamplemousse Rests His Case, a novel.
Zeste Mandarine Pamplemousse Cologne for Men by Creed
Pamplemousse Restaurant Las Vegas
Pamplemousses Botanical Gardens
Pamplemousse : Beatport : Access Dance Music
Pamplemousse Rose Body Lotion (pink grapefruit)
Pamplemousse – From the Urban Dictionary:
Why, yes, it's an insult to call someone a grapefruit, in French.
"OMFG! Way to go, ya fu**in pamplemousssssssssse!!"
Pamplemousse – A 1999 Musical Comedy. Plot Outline: A bossa nove-esque meditation on grapefruit in the frozen northern tundra.

So since I'm still not sure what it means here's a welcome sign.
And since I don't have a pineapple statute for outside. I set a can of this on the front porch.

It's amazing how as you grow older, you finally realize how much you don't know.

Now to something different. Olivia asked me yesterday if I kept a helmet on this blog. I've gotten into the habit of if I say something wrong, I say I'm going to put on my helmet. Well Olivia, just for you.

And since I know I'm dealing with a hockey fan.

Finally Boran asked me why didn't I get a goat for the lawn.
Boran, I am the goat, and an old one at that.
Self portrait. :-)

Friday, July 14, 2006


The whole family is coalescing (thanks IVG) to the house again this weekend. One brother will be here for a couple of days and the relatives that left a little while back will be here for about a week. I’m not sure if they will be bringing any grandkids with them this time. A lot more work for me, but I’m happy because it makes FMom happy to have everybody around.

FMom has already started the preparation for their arrival. She has reverted to her code talk to me. A few examples:

FMom – “I’m going to wake up early in the morning so I can start getting the house cleaned.”

Translation – Family Man get up early and get everything straightened and cleaned up before everyone shows up.

FMom – “I’m going to call Mr. X and see if he will come over and do the lawn,” and one of my favorites, “That flower beds looks terrible, I’ll go out tomorrow and start pulling weeds.”

Translation – Family Man the lawn needs to be done right away and those flowerbeds too.

Now FMom knows as well as I do that she can’t do any of this stuff, and uses her code talk to let me know it’s time to get it all done. It’s a lot of my fault on this I guess. Although we have some neighbors who keep immaculate yards, ours doesn’t look bad, but when I take her for a ride and pull back into our driveway, I tell her the people who live in this house (ours) should be ashamed to let it go that way. So that will get her started on doing things and calling people to get things done. I’ve decided subconsciously that I don’t want to do any of that stuff and that I use FMom as a catalyst to get me going.

So between now and when everybody gets here, I’ve got to get house and lawn done, plus go into the city for groceries.

I’m beginning to think my quest for perfect slackdom is only a dream. As I’ve told FMom before, I was born to be the heir of extremely rich parents. I did my part, but FMom and FDad dropped the ball somewhere.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Blog Addiction

Today I’m feeling pretty blah. I over did it outside in the yard yesterday. Even though I haven’t felt up to par, I’ve found that I’m still addicted to the blogs. Even though I didn’t post any comments around yesterday, I still would get on the net every now and then and read.

It’s a funny thing about the blogs. If you had asked me nine months ago whether I would feel compelled to see what’s happening at my favorite sites or that I would even have a site, I would have said no. That’s before I got to know many of the wonderful people I’ve met through our medium of communication. I don’t know about you, but for me to see some of the beautifully written sentiments or the fiery rebukes of very talented writers is always a daily adventure. I never really thought that I would be experiencing the gamut of emotions that the blogs have brought out. From laughing with happy abandonment to lugubrious depths (sorry I’m a thesaurus geek), to anger and to understanding. For me to know some of these people is a pleasure and an honor.

But it’s the people I’ve gotten to know on an every day basis that bring me back to look and read. I guess it’s one of those things that once you get to know people and hear of their ups and downs, how their children are doing, and just how their day is going, you start to care. I know for me, even if I don’t comment sometimes, I want to know how they are doing.

So here’s to the people that drop by and to the ones I ask everyday, “How are ya doing?”

I hope your day goes well.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Simple Courtesy

Dirt roads were part of my childhood. We had a dirt road 50 feet in front of my house and it ran for about 12 miles before pavement began. It had its curves and ditches, little and big potholes, and gravel and sand.

It never bothered me, but during the summer I can remember how dusty it was. The tall giant hedges in our front yard would be covered with dust and our front porch would be the same. I can never remember the inside of the house being dusty but I’m sure my Mom and sisters worked constantly at keeping it that way. During the spring and fall the rains would come and small potholes would turn into small valleys. It wasn’t unusual to see a truck try to go through a mud puddle that covered the entire road and getting stuck. It was funny that I always noticed it was people from Memphis that were going to the fish camps that this happened to.

I remember one time in particular that a guy from Memphis got stuck in a mud puddle near our house. He came to our house and instead of asking for help, he basically demanded we pull his vehicle out. My brother who has a temper got on a tractor and went to extract the vehicle. He told the guy it would be $5.00 to get him out of the mud puddle. The guy started going off on my brother about how we dug the hole to get vehicles stuck and make money off of it. My brother said fine and drove the tractor back home. He told me later if the guy had just asked for help he would had pulled the vehicle out for nothing, but the guy had a bad attitude and he decided to charge him. The guy finally got a neighbor to get his vehicle out, but not before the neighbor called us saying the guy was talking us down and what did we think. We said go ahead if he wanted to, so he did and charged the guy $10.00.

I don't know if that guy every learned or not, but you don’t go into someone’s front yard and start making demands, especially when you need something.

Simple courtesy goes a long way.

Added: I saw I misspelled courtesy as curtsey. My spelling is so bad that after finding out about the spelling mistake, I couldn't find it in the dictionary. A friend finally spelled it right for me and thanks. I would have been looking for it for days until I finally stumbled over it. :)

Friday, July 07, 2006


I had one of my sleepless nights and was watching TV at 4:00 am. I hate this time for TV, nothing but infomercials, old news and old movies. I got to thinking about the infomercials and when I first came back from Europe. I had been gone for five years and had never seen an infomercial. They have a real doctor tell me how I can loose weight and someone else saying I can make a million dollars and not spend a penny of my money. Of course I’m not that stupid and finally saw that the only people making money were the ones putting up the infomercials. What I couldn’t understand were the people who would buy into these things. I mean if it was that easy, would I be seeing the same people pushing the same thing year after year. Wouldn’t I be seeing skinny millionaires around everywhere?

The same thought hit me with news. Do I believe everything I see or hear as news? No. Do I believe everything I read on news site, blogs or newspapers? No. I believe everyone has an agenda and they will push that agenda toward whichever end they want. There is news and that’s becoming rare. It’s more opinion news now of days. I’ll give you a fact and start telling you my opinion and presents that as news. People take this as news and never question.

Sometimes I wonder if infomercials and opi-news are not the same. If not being told an outright lie, then the facts are jumbled and given to you. You can take any facts and make them come out the way you want. Most of us know that outright lies are told to you on the TV many times a day. But news was supposed to be above this. “Just the facts, nothing but the facts.” Sadly to say it’s not that way. So what do I do? I take the facts I know and then knit together my own news. I don’t take all statements as the truth. I wait until I have gathered together all the information I can and then decide.

As I said, I don’t believe everything I read, hear, or for that matter, see. I guess it says something for human kind that you always have to be on your guard. I guess I’ve also grown cynical in my old age. But is the truth in our personal lives and the way we deal with people so hard to do? Is the truth such a cheap commodity that it can be thrown to the side and a new truth bought when it’s needed.

People do have their own agendas and everyone see truth in their own way. However, I always have and still am amazed that lying is so prevalent that’s it’s an accepted way of life. Truth is so easy to do; I just don’t understand why people can’t do it.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Driving, Waiting, Driving

It’s off to the doctor today, so I won’t be around just about all day. It’s another trip to the neurologist. It will be a long drive, bad roads, a long wait and 10 minutes in the office. I almost wished I could just call in the visit to him. I’m figuring he’ll say we need to go with another Occipital Nerve Block, which is OK, because with the last one the anticipation of it was worse than the procedure. I don’t know though, for some reason having a needle poked into the back of your head has never been appealing to me.

I get to experience a little family hospitality when I go to my appointment. My brother lives up there and I can drop by and mess his house up a little.

So everyone have a good day and I’ll see ya later.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th to everyone!

I’m just posting a short one today wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday. I did the fireworks with my nephew last night. We cooked out hot dogs and had a pretty good time. George did escape the grill though.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I don’t know what made me think of this, but OK everybody gets a little wild every now and then. I’m a little embarrassed by this story but here goes. As usual the place and time - Sacramento, CA - Summer 1980.

I was stationed out in CA at this time and I was living in the dorms. The dorms at that time consisted of long hallways with rooms on each side. There was one large common bathroom per floor and one common room with a TV and chairs. Each floor held about 75 to 100 people. I’m explaining the dorm so you can understand the mindset back then. Any and ever reason for a party was the mindset. To give a few examples, one time I was sitting in a chair leaning back against the wall in my room reading. All of a sudden the chair started swaying from side to side. I thought what the heck and looked up at the curtains on the windows. They were coming away from the wall. Being the slow-witted person I am, it took me all of a second to realize EARTHQUAKE. By the time I realized this, the earthquake was over, but I ran to my door and put my head out into the hallway. I see other heads popping out and it’s deathly quiet. Suddenly you could hear someone screaming, EARTHQUAKE PARTTTTYY. People start grabbing everything they had to drink and pouring out into the parking lot to party. As I said, any reason to party, with the most common reason being storms and the lights going out. When this happened you would always hear TOGA PARTTTTTYY. Everybody would grab sheets off their beds, make a passable toga and head out to the parking lot. It didn’t matter if it was sprinkling or pouring rain, everyone would be out in the parking lot dressed in their togas and sharing beer. OK you know what kind of mindset we were in.

We used to drive up to Sacramento to go rafting on the American River. This time, two of my friends (J & T) and I went up there. We drive up to a place that rents rafts, rented a raft and then boarded a big bus to take us to the starting point. We get to the starting point and load our raft. We came fully stocked with plenty of beer for the trip and I think that was about it except for what we had on us. There was one rule in the raft, the ‘no beer rule’. If you didn’t have a beer in your hand, you were fair game to be pushed out into the water. Now the part of the American River we went on is a lazy easy flowing place. There were families, old people and very stupid people like us on the river.

The first half of the rafting was fun. We’re drinking our beer and each of us got pushed out at least once. We pulled over to watch some kids on top of a bluff. The kids were in their teens and had built a small ramp to jut off the bluff over the river. They would be yelling at people to throw them a beer and for this they would hop on their bicycles, hit the ramp at high speed and then do the most amazing acrobatic moves before hitting the river. We watched for awhile and then moved on. Let it be known we never threw them a beer and during that time we consumed a number of our preciously hoarded stock.

As we continued down the river J came up with the bright idea of nude rafting. I started protesting and in no time J & T had clothes off and were sitting on the side of the raft paddling on down the river. Now I’m not the type of person that just shucks off his clothes in public, but after them giving me hell for awhile, I said what the heck and doffed my clothes too. Remember we had been drinking a lot of beer. The river was filled with people that day and I can remember families going by with mothers covering their children’s eyes and people yelling at us. I just sat down in the bottom of the raft and tried to look as inconspicuous as possible.

Now the ‘no beer rule’ came into play again. J didn’t have a beer and he was out of the raft. During the struggle to push him out of the raft, we also ended up turning it over. Beer, clothes and everything went floating down the river. T and I managed to get our clothes and the beer. J couldn’t find his. By this time a new group of rafters are coming by, and T and I had donned our clothes. Poor J has nothing. The new rafters start yelling at J about having no clothes. T and I decide what the hell. We start yelling at him too about not having clothes. Of course we had a beer in hand and laughing the whole time.

We come to the end of our rafting and had to get back on the bus to get back to the starting point. We feel sorry that J has no clothes and give him a shirt to wrap around his front. T and I get on the bus first and watch as J comes on. He goes to sit down by a girl and she pushes him out of the seat. He said OK and sits by another girl who is laughing at the situation. We explain what had happened to the girl and she said she knew, she had seen the whole thing and thought it was hilarious. The bus takes off and everybody has a great time on the way back. We get to the starting point, unload, get to the car that has dry clothes and J says, “You won’t believe this.” As soon as he said it I knew his keys were at the bottom of the American River. So we call another friend who has to drive an hour to come and pick us up. During the hour T and I are falling on the ground laughing because J is walking around the parking lot with his front covered and his back end hanging out. To this day I am still amazed we didn’t get arrested.

So ends the tale of spontaneous parties, nude rafting and beer drinking. I am embarrassed a little bit, but on the whole I still laugh when I think about it. I lost touch with those friends and don’t even know if they are alive today. But I wish I could find them and just reminisce about a day on the American River.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Hay Field

When I was a kid, I grew up on a farm, a working farm. We had cotton, soybeans, hay and livestock. I had spent my time chopping soybeans and cotton, and picking cotton, but it was always mind numbing monotony. The hay fields were where I loved to work. In the hay fields you weren’t bent over walking down one straight row. In the hay field you had the whole field to move around in.

Today they have these machines that make giant round bales. Back then we had the rectangular bales being spit out by the hay baler. Each bale could weigh from 65 to 85 pounds. Most people cut their hay and let it season, or dry out, for a while before it’s bailed. This is a pretty tricky endeavor because if you timed it wrong, a rainstorm could come alone the ruin an entire field of hay. Once it’s dried enough you have a harrow attached to a tractor that makes neat rows of the hay ready for the bailer to come behind and devour each long straight row.

We had a system where my father had a long sled built to be hooked up behind the baler and one man would ride the sled and grab the bales being shot out, then stack them as high as he could reach. Once the bales were stacked the man would take a long metal pole and plant it the ground in front of the hay and slide the hay off sled. Then a tractor with a trailer would pull up to the stacked hay and we would throw bale by bale up to the trailer to be stacked there. This was a good system, I guess, but I liked it when the hay baler would already had done an entire field and we would walk by the trailer and pick up each bale and throw them up.

The reason I like that was because I had a system for it. I would run forward of the tractor and trailer and face them. There were two twine strings going around the rectangular bale. I would grab the two twine strings with one hand, grab onto the back of the trailer. Just as the trailer started to pull me, I would lift the bale, plant a knee under it and shoot it up in the back of the trailer. We were constantly moving, lifting, throwing and stacking.

After a trailer was filled we would jump on top of the bales of stacked hay and ride it back to the barn. Here’s where I didn’t like hay bailing.

We had a massive barn. It was a large square with the sides and back having open spaces for cows and storing trailers of cotton. The middle portion was open space for the hay. As it said it was massive. The inside had to reach up to 40 feet and the hay would be stacked from the back, top forward. Now as with most barns there was no air movement. So if you were lucky you would be able to stay on the trailer outside and throw the hay bales into the barn where they would be picked up by someone and taken to the back to be stacked. If you weren’t lucky, you would be inside the barn. During the summer that barn was stifling, extremely hot and dusty. After a round in the barn you would come out of there looking like you had come out of, dare I say a mud pit. My Dad would always have plenty of water and when it started getting too much, we could always take breaks and get some fresh air.

I look back at it now and it was always like a new awakening getting out of that barn. While in it, I would think how miserable this is, but once I was back on the trailer in the fresh and much cooler air, riding back to the hay field my spirits always returned. It was always such a good feeling to be out in the open and it didn’t matter it was hard physical work. I was young then and took pleasure in the exertion.

Now I’m past middle age and I look back and wish I had the youthful exhilaration and energy from back then. Sadly though I don’t and that’s OK. I like being my age now. I actually used to look forward to being this age and I’m very surprised I’ve made it this far. Don’t get me wrong. A lot of things could be different and I wouldn’t complain, but I like being more settled. I’m saying a lot of things that have already been said, but youth is wasted on youth and old age is hell. But there are a few of us that find just about everything funny and don’t go off the deep end on every little thing.

BTW I’m getting sick of seeing Japan’s PM Koizumi’s visit to Graceland on the news.

OK I still go over the deep end every now and then.

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