THE VAPORS

Read any book about the Deep South in the days before the Civil  War, and you will surely find that some lady; usually of genteel background, had suffered from an attack of the “VAPORS” at one time or another.  In many cases, the attack was so severe that they were required to “take to their bed” for an extended period.

The exact cause of this malady was never explained.  However, I arrived at the conclusion that it had something to do with shock or astonishment since it usually followed an announcement from a daughter that she was keeping company with a young swain who lacked the proper breeding which their exalted station in life demanded.

Although I am far removed from the aristocracy of the plantation owner set, it nevertheless caused me concern that a little of this disorder, could perhaps have made its way through the generations, and therefore be responsible for my many aches and pains.

Turning to the dictionary for guidance in my pursuit of the meaning of the dreaded ailment;  the best I could come up with was, “exhalations of the stomach believed to be harmful to one’s health, hypochondria or depressed spirits.”

Delving deeper, I discovered that exhalations means;  “Something exhaled, as air, steam, or an ODOR.” At last, here is the diagnosis for milady’s problem. “She was simply suffering from gas pains.  Come to think of it, this COULD have been passed down through the generations.

The thing that troubles me most is the fact that this affliction is only mentioned following some extreme tribulation. Were these sophisticated souls not affected by ‘Pinto Beans’ or ‘Sweet Potatoes’? And, why take to their beds? It would seem to me that fresh air would be more of a solution than the confinement of a bedroom.

Nothing is said about the rank and file members of society suffering from this illness. Perhaps they were immune since their physical makeup was not as delicate as the nobility.

Getting back to my aches and pains. Whether or not a touch of the “VAPOR” genes have been passed down; leaves room for question.

However, please allow me to make one thing perfectly clear. “If I suddenly leave the room during a conversation; you may be sure that I do this for a very good reason”.

Demijon

Please excuse me:  But I can never refuse a dinner consisting of “Black-Eyed-Peas” and “Sweet Potato Pudding.”  Then I asked myself; I said, “Myself:  Could it be that this is why  The “Little Woman”  refuses any and all dinner invitations?”   I have always thought that she was afraid that all the other Ladies would try to “GO WITH ME!” 

“Turns out;  She just didn’t want me to have an attack of ‘The Vapors’ among Company.”    Dj.

JUSTICE

It was a sleepy little town, typical of many small hamlets that dot the landscape of the southernmost parts of the Country. Main Street was lined on either side with various stores and appeared, at first glance, to end at the courthouse steps. It was here that it gave way to a circle circumventing the two hundred plus years old building. Entering the circle at right angles were two streets that evidently led to the surrounding countryside. Traffic from the main thoroughfare was required to negotiate the circle before continuing and eventually connecting with congressman Jake Wilton’s pet project, the By-pass.

There was a time when the flow of traffic was routed through the town by way of main street. Very few merchants were happy about the construction of the by-pass and with good reason. What once had been a thriving city had now been reduced to a handful of presently operating businesses and many more vacant buildings. A number of the merchants were required to relocate, whereas, others had merely closed their doors and sought other means to provide for their families.

With the exception of a Saturday, when most of the citizens from the farm community came into town to transact their weekly business or to merely pass the time with their friends and neighbors. One could usually count the patrons who venture into town for the purpose of shopping, on the fingers of one hand.

Today, however, was different. Today was the day when the Circuit Judge arrived to conduct the business of the court. It was a big day indeed, for the inhabitants of the county, simply because of the forthcoming trial of one Peter J. Brigman.

“Pete” had been accused of shooting B. L. Jarvis in the leg with a twenty-gauge shotgun after an argument at the Short-Snort Cafe last May. He had been housed in the JAIL over in Mayport, since his arrest in June.

Probably the most unusual aspect of his day in court was the fact that “PETE’S” supporters had gathered on one side of Main Street and the supporters of “B. L.”  were congregated on the opposite side. The air was charged with apprehension.

Vehicles representing local radio and television stations were parked adjacent to the courthouse, their wires extending across the circle and into any available receptacle.

Also present were several persons with identification cards denoting them as members of the press. The Progressive, The Telegraph, and The Weekly Responder.

The disgruntled members of the “Sons of Rest club,” that normally occupied the benches on either side of the courthouse steps had been displaced by a battalion of deputies from the adjoining counties. The controversial trial was about to begin.

Attorneys for both sides were careful in their jury selection. They were determined to have at least as many supporters for their client as the other side had. Awareness that half the community were friendly toward Pete and couldn’t stand B.L. and the other half felt just the opposite, made for a lively selection process.

At last, the jury was seated and trial began. In opening statements, both attorneys depicted their client as solid, law abiding citizens who would go out of their way to avoid a confrontation, but yet, the evidence presented by the prosecution would point to the guilt of the defendant and council for the defendant would claim that nothing could be further from the truth. Back and forth they went:  Both questioning and cross examining witnesses.

The judge began to think that the trial was getting nowhere up until the time when “JETHRO PARNELL” was called as a witness for the defense.  He was asked if he had witnessed the entire altercation. His testimony was short and to the point.

“Yep, your majesty.  B.L., he had him a snoot full of that old rot-gut whiskey that Ben Tadlock bootlegs and he commenced a-raggin’ Pete about that bag of bones; whot he calls a bird dog.  Pete told him to shut up but he never listened.  Next, he commenced  a’runnin’ down Pete’s wife.  Said she was fat and lazy.  Finally, he just went too far and flew in to cussing “DALE EARNHARDT:” and Pete just up and shot him.”

The judge then interrupted and addressed himself to the jury. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t believe that we have need of a jury at this time, thank you very much. Council will approach the bench.”

When the jury had left the courtroom, the judge turned to the prosecuting attorney and said, “You have wasted my time and the taxpayer’s money with this nonsense. Case dismissed. Hell, I’d have shot him myself, if I had been there!”

“Bailiff; Call the next case!”

Demijon

Posted inUncategorized

GAS WARS IN REVERSE!

 

I have vowed to restrain from “playing politics” in my Blog, but I must get this off my chest. Dj.

In the late 1950’s / early 1960’s, service stations competed by lowering the price of gasoline. I can well remember seeing a posted sign in front of a neighborhood station advertising the price of their product at $.18.9 cents per gallon. Less than one hour later, I passed the same location and observed the station across the street changing their price to $.17.9 cents.

It was along about this time that Politicians seeking election / re-election promised to lower prices on all consumer goods in return for a vote. It’s funny, but those promises seemed to get put on the back burner as soon as the votes were counted. Little concern was given to the retailer that was selling gasoline for less than they paid for it in order to lure customers. Perhaps the reason was that service station owners made up a small percentage of the populace, and that the major oil companies were content with a normal margin of profit.

Just yesterday, I drove to the grocery. As I passed convenience store “A,” a clerk was changing the price on the gas pumps to to $2.49.9 cents. On my return the same clerk was boosting the price to $2.50.9 cents while convenience store “B”, just across the street, was in the process of changing their price to $2.51.9 cents.

After reading about the record-breaking profits earned by major oil companies, it makes us wonder who is scraping the cream off the top. To make matters worse, reports are that gas prices will surpass the $3.00 per gallon mark. (Not before the 2008 election, of course).

What do you think would happen to the price of gasoline if the salaries of all politicians were suddenly reduced to the level that “Joe Blow” receives for flipping burgers and “Jim Smith” gets for washing cars?

None of us expect for gasoline prices to again return to the $.17.9 cents, but our elected officials are doing us a great injustice by allowing the skyrocketing prices of everything and still seeking to make up the difference by curtailing the very limited incomes of the country’s seniors.

Has it ever occurred to them to reduce their own lavish salaries and bonuses as a gesture of concern for their constituents? By doing so this could be characterized as “leading by example” and would be a start in the right direction.

Demijon

Posted inUncategorized

MENUS.

Don’t you just hate it when you enter an eating establishment and find that the menu is printed entirely in an unknown language? To those of us who are not “worldly,” this presents a problem. Searching the entire menu offers no explanation as to what the “Baked Chitlins alfredio” or the “scalipiota personified” consists of and does not even indicate that it is edible.

It would seem that they would include a translation somewhere for those of us who know nothing of the exotic terms used by famous chefs. It need not be elaborate, just tell us what we would be eating when we point to an item and say, “I’ll have that.”

It does not stop here. Small print below the selections of entrees, offers the “Vegetable of the Day.”  What is this? Can they not spell mashed potatoes or green beans and corn on the cob?  And do they really cook the “Fries” at “Home” and then bring them to the restaurant?

Also, it would seem that the longer the name, the larger the price. I have tried to figure out just what the going rate per letter in their “special of the day,” but to no avail. This too, is a closely guarded secret. To call a potato by any other name should not increase the price by one half.

Many of us enter a restaurant for only one reason. We are hungry. We do not care if the food is called cuisine or simply victuals. It matters not to us if the items are served with an exotic sauce or plain gravy. If the food is tasty and the establishment is clean, we will beat a path to your door. A sample of what we are looking for is—

Ham and ‘tater salad with okra and squash…$1.69

Steak and black eyed peas with turnips and mashed ‘taters…$2.45

Meat loaf and gravy over rice with collards and pinto beans…$1.89

Fried cat fish with fried squash and fried ‘taters…$2.22

Beef stew with stewed ‘maters and hominy…$2.16

All of the above served with biscuits, corn bread, tea and/or coffee. Large slice of apple pie included.

Take heed, all of you restaurant owners. This could mean the difference in success and failure. There are thousands of us who want nothing more than a good, tasty meal. It’s up to you.

Will you succeed or fail?

Demijon

Posted inUncategorized

Mostly Unheard Of Today!

Slew-footed: Someone who walks with their feet turned outward. Example: “He’s so slew-footed that he walks like he’s raking corn shucks.”

Teddys: An item of underwear worn by ladies. Example: “Mavis was walking around outside with nothing but her teddy’s on.”

Bodiacious: A huge amount. Example: “I’ll bet that car cost Jim a bodiacious pile of money.”

Coming up a cloud: An impending storm. Example: “You young’uns get in the house and wash your feet; ‘They’s a’coming up a cloud.”

Tainted: Anything that has spoiled. Example: “Throw them hot dogs into the hog pen. They’s tainted.”

Parson: A preacher. Example: “Our Parson has moved and we’s got to find us another’n.”

That Way: Description of a pregnant lady. Example: “I’ve heard that Eunice is “that way” and won’t tell who’s the daddy.”

It’s that old bomb: Placing blame. Example: “The reason we’re having such bad weather is that it’s caused by ‘that old bomb.”

Liquored-up: Inebriated. Example: “I saw Bob yesterday in front of the dime store and he was all “liquored up.”

Pigeon-toed: Walking with the feet turned inward. Example: “That young’un of Miz Hylton’s is as ‘pigeon-toed’ as anybody I’ve ever seen.”

Croup: As having a bad cough. Example: “Jethro has got the ‘CROUP‘ and I can’t sleep ’cause he coughs all night;”

Gimp-legged: A person that walks with a limp. Example: “That ‘gimp-legged‘ boy of Miz Starnes ain’t getting no better.”

Smart as a whip: Showing intelligence. “He might never get any better but he’s; “Smart as a whip.”

Swimmy-headed: Unstable. Example: “I was so “swimmy-headed” this morning, I could hardly get out of bed.”

Blind staggers: Same as above. “I noticed that; but I thought you had a bad case of the “blind staggers.”

Re-liners: Inserts for automobile tires. Example: “You had better put “Re-liners” in your tires ’cause the air is showing in two of them.”

Lumbago: Leg or back pain. Example: “I’ve got to get up from in front of this computer ’cause my Lumbago is giving me a fit.”

Any more questions?

Demijon

Posted inUncategorized

CATCHING FLIES!

After retirement, my wife and I lived in Sunset Beach, North Carolina for fifteen years. While there, I became friends with Sam; who was the owner of a thriving Hardware, Garden Center and Real Estate & Rental Agency.

I suppose one could characterize him as a good old boy since his attire was usually overalls and denim shirt, and with a baseball cap perched on his head. At first glance, it was hard to believe that he was the boss because most of his employees were dressed better than he. When I went into his store for a couple of items, it was not unusual to spend an hour or so reminiscing with him about the good old days.

Once, he related a true story to me. A non-resident Homeowner called one day and ordered one yard of gravel and wanted it delivered immediately. Sam explained that all his drivers were busy with other deliveries and he would send the gravel as soon as possible. The man became indignant and demanded service right now!  Sam told him that he would do what he could to deliver as soon as possible.

Hanging up the phone, he told Marie; his wife, and bookkeeper; to look after the store and he would deliver the order himself. He went into the yard and loaded the gravel on the spare truck with the front end loader and drove across the floating draw-bridge and onto the Island.

The Homeowner was standing if front of his ocean-front cottage when Sam arrived. He had no more than gotten out of the truck cab until the man lit in on him.” He began cussing about the poor service from people and businesses in the South and especially in and around Sunset Beach. “My time is much too valuable to wait around until the spirit moves some country bumpkin to do what I’m paying him for.”

Sam merely dumped the load of gravel in the designated spot and then turned to the man and said, “I know what you mean and I’ll agree with you 100 percent. I’ve never seen such sorry service than these folks around here provide. People like you and me are not used to such bad service.  Up North, people jumped when we hollered.” 

“Y’see, the only reason I’m driving this truck; is to try to make enough money to move my family, If things get any worse.”

The man paid him for the gravel and then asked him to wait for a couple of minutes before leaving. He went into the house. When he came back out, he shook Sam’s hand and handed him two twenty dollar bills and said,  “I Hope this will help you get back home.: 

After relating this to me, Sam quoted an old saying; “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.”  Sam’s  unique ability to correlate with folks of any background leaves no doubt of his success as a businessman.

“I’m glad to call him my friend.”

Demijon

 

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Copyright © 2017 The Demijon Blog

The Model “A”

How well I remember the Model A Ford. This was the first automobile that I can recall my family owning. It was a black, box-like, two-door sedan, powered by a four-cylinder engine, which provided our transportation for many years.

It sat regally, on 19-inch wire wheels with a spare wheel and tire attached to a horn-shaped, mount at the rear of the body. The 19 inch Tires held  Inner-Tubes,” that could easily be patched, by the owners.  “Repair Kits were available at all Service Stations.”

In a day when power was not as important as efficiency, the up-draft carburetor, combined with the four cylinders and a manual “three in the floor” transmission was adequate to propel the vehicle at an accepted speed of around 35 miles per hour.

Starting the car was more complicated than merely turning a key. Mounted on each side of the steering column were two levers. The left lever was the ‘spark’ and the right was a ‘manual accelerator’.

These levers must be operated in sequence. If the battery was charged; the first order of business was to turn the key to the on position. The spark lever was then raised to reduce the compression of the engine. Then the accelerator lever was lowered and with the right foot depressing the starter button. located at the junction of the floorboard and the firewall;  At the same time; the right hand must also reach for; and ‘pull the choke rod- located; in front of the passenger seat’.

After the engine fired, the spark lever was lowered to smooth the idle of the engine. If the battery was dead, starting the car required two persons. While one manipulated the controls, the other stuck the manual crank through a hole just under the radiator and turned the crankshaft.  Care must be used here. If the machine should “MISFIRE,” the manual crank could break an arm.

Another option was If; by chance, the car was parked on a hill, manual starting could be accomplished by allowing the car to roll, placing the shift in second gear and “popping the clutch.”

Access to the rear seat was easily accomplished since the original “bucket” seats in front could be folded twice to allow for unencumbered entry. Many a young person, (including myself)’ learned to drive at an age, when it was necessary to fold the backrest down in order to see through the windshield. However, the driver’s legs must be long enough to reach the floor-mounted accelerator; (or foot-feed), as this was sometimes called.

Although not provided as standard equipment; an accessory was available in the form of a Manifold Heater. This was simply a metal hood that could be attached to the manifold of the engine. The end of this heater, nearest the fan and the front of the engine, was bell-shaped to allow air to be forced over the manifold and warmed.

It was then directed through a hole in the firewall directly in front of the passenger side and into the car. However, this was much less efficient than the rest of the vehicle; therefore, winter travel required the use of comforters and / or warm clothing.

Maintenance usually was provided by the owner and was simplicity itself. It has been said that the Model A could be kept in tip-top condition for years with only a pair of Vise-Grip Pliers”, and a coil of “Hay-Bale Wire”.

Unlike today’s jammed engine compartments, every part of the engine could be easily accessed. An occasional grease job,;a few oil changes; and sporadic spark plug changes, were pretty much the extent of required maintenance.

Although not as comfortable as our modern vehicles, the Model A served its owners well. Comparatively speaking; this vehicle was much more of a value at a cost of around six to eight hundred dollars than today’s everything; automatic, computerized, automobiles.

I would gladly purchase a new Model-A today and spend the rest of the $20/30,thousand dollars plus;, that is the going price for many of today’s automobiles, proudly chug-a-lugging along the nation’s highways. I am not in that big a hurry anyway.

I am surprised that the popularity of today’s antique automobile shows has not encouraged Ford Motor Company to,  Re-invent the Model-A.

If, by chance, they decide to bring the original plans out of mothballs, I will suggest to them that the first vehicle off the assembly line should be a coupe with a rumble seat and a manifold heater included as standard equipment.

Of course, an added incentive would be to offer the vehicle at the original price range of around $600,00; in order to appeal to cheapskates such as myself.

“So; children:”  “Go on to the moon and back.”  “I just want to drive my Model A to the store for my afternoon ‘R. C. Cola,’ and ‘Square Cheese Cracker”

Demijon

WHY???

Inquisitive minds of children have asked this question for generations and for the most part, have received basically the same response; Because!”  In certain instances, this response has varied with the addition of that’s the way it’s done” or “Go ask your Mother:”  But as a general rule the answer remains the same; Because I said so.”

Children of my time were taught at an early age that to question a parent was grounds for a trip to the woodshed followed by one or the other parent with a hickory in hand. No one considered this child abuse but merely a form of training in order to assure that the child will grow up to BE somebody”.

Psychologist today tell us that the failure to explain to a child, in detail, exactly why we make such a decision will result in a severe complex and they will grow up to hate their parents. Baloney!”

I cannot accept the fact that training a child to respect their parents as well as others will leave permanent scars. As they grow older, they have the ability to realize that this teaching was in their best interest.

In most cases, the reason that an explanation was not given was simply that the parent knew that understanding of the situation was beyond the comprehension of the child, and that they could be protected from harm without complicating matters.

I wonder if the only reason that George Washington became a great leader and President, was the fact that his father explained to him in minute detail just why it was necessary to frail the living daylights out of him; when he disobeyed and chopped the cherry tree down, (and I DO believe that the young’un got his tail whipped)”. “I’m pretty darned sure that he did.)”  I also firmly believe that Papa Washington used the term, Because I said so.”

As children grow older, they begin to understand that those decisions were made for their benefit. They can then appreciate this fact. I distinctly remember one of our Son’s remarking; (when he observed), an unruly child, having a “Hissie-fit” at a public gathering; You and Mom taught us better than that.”

I cannot remember just what incidents he was referring to; but I am reasonably sure that when he was corrected he asked, WHY?” and received the reply, “BECAUSE I SAID SO!”

Demijon

Definition of the word ‘WRONG’:  “What everyone else is.”      Dj.

Posted in Uncategorized

NEW DEVELOPMENT

Posted on March 18, 2018 by John Sellers

The young couple with a small child began to think about owning a new home. The year was 1956 and they had only been married for three years. The fact that their income was limited and they had a small child did not deter them from investigating the possibility of ownership. They discovered a development where new brick homes were being offered in the $12,000.00 to $14,000.00 range; with a minimum down payment. They even went so far as selecting a plan for a three bedroom, one bath, home of around 1,000 sq. feet.

Their next problem was to find a source for a down payment. Once this amount was secure, they felt they could manage the small monthly payments. The offer of a loan for the small down payment sealed the deal as far as they were concerned.

They eagerly affixed their signatures to a contract with a thirty-year mortgage and a payment schedule of $71.00 each month.  Fortunately, the man had been in the Military and was eligible for a Government Insured (G.I. loan) at an interest rate of only 4-1/2 percent. Neither of them considered the fact that 30 years was a long time. Both were too enthused about ownership in lieu of paying rent. Neither did the clause in the contract that would assess a penalty for paying the balance of the mortgage early bother either of them.

Thanksgiving day in 1956, they moved their meager belongings into their own, new, house and stayed there for a period of thirty-five years. Another son was born two years later and both of the children remained in this small house until they entered college. The house that seemed so big to the young couple became quite cramped as the children grew; however, they coped with it as best they could.

During the last few years of the mortgage period, the lender began sending notices that, “Out of the goodness of our heart, we will allow you to pay the balance of the mortgage early without a penalty.”

No. They didn’t all of a sudden feel sorry for those of us who were saddled with a thirty-year mortgage. Rather, they would be much happier to get rid of the 4-1/2 percent loan in favor of the current 8 or 9 percent interest rates.

Many of the letters told of how we could use our money rather than make the mortgage payments; Take a world tour. Buy a new car. Vacation overseas, etc. Little did they realize how hard-hearten and stubborn this young couple had become after struggling with those payments for thirty years.

To prove a point; The last payment was made on the last month of the thirty-year contract…

A full sixteen days late.  We know because: “We  were there.”
Demijon

I wonder how I could be over the hill when I don’t remember being on top of it.

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A SIMPLE INJECTION!

Posted on March 18, 2017  by John Sellers Uncategorized

On a similar note; When I was 64 years old, (three months shy of Medicare age), I requested a influenza shot from a Doctors office. Being the frugal person that I am, I asked the cost. “$15.00,” was the reply.

“What if I wait until January and let Medicare pay,” I asked. “In that case, the cost would be $31.00:”  Was the answer. The Nurse continued, “We are required by law to charge $31.00 if Medicare is paying.

My point of issue, then and now is; “If filling out a simple claim form for Medicare is worth $16.00? I have spent a lifetime of slaving in the wrong business.”

Demijon

Getting old means; ~~ “Your knees buckle, and your belt won’t.”   Dj.

Posted on Mach 18, 2017 by John Sellers Uncategorized

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DON’T THROW THAT OLD T.V. AWAY; YA;HEAR?

They came in the mail yesterday. The DIGITAL / HD? converter vouchers that I ordered to recycle the antiqued TV connected to “Rabbit-Ears” that sits in the corner of the office.
After questioning the Associate at “Best-Buy;” at length to explain the pros & cons of the different models and the performance of each, I selected one that was priced, included taxes, at $64,04.

I waited until the cashier totaled the cost and then I smugly presented my $40.00 voucher. She deducted the voucher from the total and I walked out with the feeling that; “I had finally gotten a bargain.”

The TV that I was attempting to recycle has been sitting in the office for years and would only receive two local channels. Imagine my surprise when I perused the instruction manual and connected the converter to the set. Instead of the two ‘Snowy’ channels; the old TV responded with ’19 channels‘ in remarkable clarity. I spent several hours this morning happily flipping through the channels and marveling at the fact that I could almost count the hairs on the Weatherman’s head.

Thankfully, the children presented us with a ’32 inch, Flat Screen, H/D, digital TV’ for Christmas several years ago.  This set is connected to Cable Access in the living room and will not need a converter box. However, I could not reasonably think of going to the expense of installing cable in the office.

When the announcement was made that the Government would cancel ALL analog channels as of February, 2009, I began looking at the wide array of new, flat screen digital / HD sets to replace the 18 year old set in the office.

We’re still talking about hundreds upon hundreds of dollars here. Just as I resigned myself to either watch the only two blurry channels or enjoy television in the living room: I discovered the offer of $40.00 vouchers to reduce the cost of converter boxes.

Not only am I happy with the reception, I am not required to seek a “co-signer” to purchase a new TV.  To those who are not dependent on a fixed income, the prior sentence may seem a bit strange; but considering our fragile budget, it would have been necessary.

For once; “The Government has finally done something right.”

I can remember when a POKE” was used to carry stuff in and had nothing to do with the connection of a fist in someone’s face.    Dj.


UNCLE “CY.”

My uncle was named CYRUS, and he was the second younger sibling born to my Grandparents.  My father was the first-born in the family of six children.  As an adult, uncle CYRUS was known throughout the community as “CY.”  He was (like my father) a farmer, who moonlighted as a blacksmith.

He maintained a shop in the adjacent town, that was the County Seat; some ten miles from his home.  Although not a resident, he became a permanent fixture in the village on weekends and on days when wet weather prevented any work on the farm.

Every Spring, he would buy a small ad in the local newspaper to announce; “I will be in my office every Saturday and rainy days from now until further notice.”  This was more or less his calling card, and would serve as notification for his customers to bring the mules and horses that were in need of new shoes to his office on the appointed days.

One of the quirks of my uncle was that he would never leave the house without his hat.  He was also extremely ticklish in the vicinity of his neck.  He usually did not wear a tie, but he always kept his shirt buttoned to the top.

Uncle “CY” became fast friends with the County Sheriff who, incidentally, dearly loved to play practical jokes on his friends and especially on uncle CYRUS.  The Sheriff patrolled the town on horseback and it was not unusual for him to ride by CY’S OFFICE during his tour of duty.

On one particular Saturday, the Sheriff rode by and casually lifted uncle CY’S  hat from his head and hung it on his saddle horn.  (Now, you have got to know that the nearest that uncle CYRUS ever came to using profanity was to use the word “DAN.”)  For the rest of that day, uncle CYRUS worked bare-headed and was constantly heard to mutter “DANNIT, IF I EVER GET MY HANDS ON THAT SHERIFF, I’LL KILL HIM; EVEN IF HE LOCKS ME UP!”

Shortly after I began dating the girl who later became my wife, she accompanied me to the annual homecoming service at our church.  After preaching, and before the ‘dinner on the grounds’, I pointed to uncle CYRUS and told Sue that he was my favorite uncle and if she wanted to make an impression on him; she should hug his neck.

Can you imagine the shock she experienced when she sought the acceptance from my favorite relative, and wrapped her arms around his neck.  He immediately whirled around and said; DANNIT; IF YOU TOUCH ME AGAIN, I’LL KILL YOU!”  Needless to say; it was years before she would as much as shake hands with anyone else in the community.

She was a town girl and was unaccustomed to the ways of us country folks.  She’s a good old girl but at first, she was; and still is, just a bit “Quare.”

Perhaps this incident is why she has never believed anything I have said for all these sixty-five years.  I think that she has been afraid that I have another relative who hates affection to the point that he would do bodily harm to the assailant.  Therefore; she has been skeptical of most of my kinfolks.

Demijon

You’ll just have to excuse me, but I hate to confuse myself with the facts.

Private Impressions

Whether or not we will admit it; human nature leads us to form opinions that are not necessarily based on fact, but rather on our personal concepts of what constitutes competence.

I am reminded of a friend who was an avid NASCAR fan. Very few races were held that did not find her in attendance and rooting for, not one, but two favorite drivers. Her explanation was, “I pull for Richard Petty because of his driving ability and for Buddy Baker because he is better looking.”

Getting closer to home is my wife’s perception of politicians. “I could never vote for, (name withheld), because of the way his mouth curls when he speaks.” The person’s stand on the issues was obliterated by a mere twist of the lips.

One of the ‘first black,’ entertainers in the field of country music; Charlie Pride: Tells of a lady who had been a fan for many years. At one particular concert she was invited backstage to meet her idol.

After a few moments of polite chit-chat, Mr. Pride asked the fan if she had any questions. “Yes,” she replied. “Why don’t you talk like you’re supposed to?”

Recently I called for an appointment at a doctor’s office and was immediately, very much impressed with the answer; “Dr. Jones’ office: This is Marcia; how may I help you?” 

I informed Marcia; (a petite blonde, 5 ft. 1 in., 110 lb. candidate for, at least, the runner-up in the Miss America pageant); that I needed to see Dr. Jones.

Imagine my surprise when I entered the waiting room and the receptionist greeted me with, “Hi, I’m Marcia:   Dr. Jones will see you shortly.”  

Hopefully, she could not read my thoughts; that she would conceivably weigh in at around 260 and was, (I guessed), 6 ft. 4 in. tall and two years older than me.

Apparently Dr. Jones had relied on her capabilities when choosing her for the position of receptionist. Thankfully she knew nothing about my first impression when I spoke with her on the telephone.

While we are on the subject; What is your impression of the lady that asked if your home needed vinyl siding?  Would you be surprised to know that she was 72 years old, and weighed 322 pounds:  She also had blue hair?

“She did have a beautiful telephone voice, didn’t she?”  By the way: Has your siding been installed yet?”   “They finished my house yesterday.”

Accepting people for what they are rather than what we would like them to be is perhaps one of the most difficult tasks that we, as humans, face. When we have corrected this deficiency, we will have no reason to wonder about all the others first impressions of US.

Did Marcia really give us the old, ‘head to toe’ inspection; to decide if we were “Sick;” or was our visit routine?   Did she think that I was HER Knight in shining armor?  “We’ll NEVER KNOW!”

Demijon

“I’ve seen it all:  Done it all:  Gotten the tee shirt:  but I don’t remember any of it.”    DJ.

SCAMS

We have all received them. The telephone call at the precise time we sit down for the evening meal. A breathless voice saying—;

“How are you this evening. This is Sandy with Pot-O-Gold; and I am calling to advise you that you could be next in line to win $1,000,000.00. All you have to do is apply for our Pot-O-Gold charge card and you may become our next millionaire.”

“The fee is only $59.95 per month with a low interest rate of 47%; for any late payments:”  “Isn’t that great?  “To qualify, just send your SS number along with your bank account number; and any spare change from the Jelly Jar;  to us at;  P.O. Box XXX, and we’ll do the rest.” —              Sound familiar?”    “It gets worse”.

Whenever we purchase a new appliance, there is a registration form enclosed in the package that must be returned to validate our warranty. These forms seek all kinds of information about us. “Things like how much our income is and what we plan to buy next:”  “Do we pay cash for purchases, etc.”?   This is apparently, the source of big revenue for some. folks.

Even the Department of Motor Vehicles has gotten into the act by selling names and addresses from their lists of automobile registrations. They have, however; offered a form that when filled out and returned to the D.M.V.  it will remove our names from the list to be sold. Why should we be the ones to go to this trouble? They initiated the form, right?

As irritating as telemarketing calls are, there are other unsolicited calls that are nothing more than malicious attempts to dig into our wallets.  These calls are made by unscrupulous individuals who prey on our compassion for the sole purpose of lining their own pockets. Several weeks ago my wife answered the telephone, (you guessed it, at dinner time).

The speaker identified himself as a member of the North Carolina Highway Patrol. He inquired as to whether or not she believed in capital punishment; and would send literature in return for a donation to a fund established for the families of slain officers.

Fearing the worse, my wife asked the person to send the information and she would then make a decision as to whether, and how much, to donate. The caller became indignant and hung up.  A later call to the Highway Patrol revealed that they; Do NOT make telephone solicitations.

Shortly afterward, I received a call from a lady claiming to be a representative of  “Make a Wish Foundation.”  She requested that I make a donation of twenty dollars or more to fulfill the last wish of a terminally ill child.

Her tearful request fell on deaf ears; since I had recently read that the legitimate  “Make a Wish Foundation;”  (again) “DOES NOT;” solicit funds via the telephone.

While I am in favor of helping veritable charities:  It disturbs me, that there are people who make a career of targeting those of us who, on a regular basis, experience;  Too much MONTH left over at the end of the MONEY.

If you receive any of these calls;  Be sure to  ask for sufficient identification; and tell them you will return their call after verifying this I.D.. If they refuse:  Simply, hang up.

Please don’t become a victim.
Demijon

MY Way….

I have been asked many times how I gained my superior intelligence, my fantastic demeanor, my good looks, pleasing personality and incomparable ability. My friends, all of this is due to hard work and perseverance.

There was a time when I was just like you; a dull, argumentative, plain, ignorant individual whose total skills amounted to nothing more than the mastery of sopping molasses with a portion of biscuit; A pitiful character indeed.

It was here that I vowed to remedy this predicament and began what has been described as the greatest innovation in the history of mankind with regard to total rejuvenation of the senses as well as the dexterity of the forces that drive the human body. Eventually, this became known as “HANDYMAN-ISM.” Simply put, this is the art of evaluating a problem and reaching a solution without the benefit of instruction manuals and/or supervision; Trial and error, so to speak.

It was certainly not an easy road that I followed. Rather, there were times when the stumbling blocks completely blocked the end of the tunnel but with persistence, enough were removed to wriggle free. Quite a lot was learned from these experiences.

For instance; I was once dispatched to replace a mini-blind in one window of a rental house. The house itself sat on pilings of around eight to ten feet above ground level. Struggling up the stairs was somewhat of a chore for my, (at that time) 65 year-old body, but I eventually succeeded in entering the house.

Upon completion of the repairs, I decided to exit the house from another door. Little did I realize that there were no steps leading to the ground from this exit until I was suddenly plummeted into thin air and landed with a thud on the hard packed sand at the base of the house.

Fortunately no major damage was done to my perfect body with the exception of several bruises and scrapes, however, my clothing did not fare so well. The accumulation of dirt, numerous rips and tears manifested that I had indeed experienced some mishap.

When I returned to the office, I rendered a lengthy explanation of leaving the house from a different door than the one I entered. The response to my tirade from the office manager brought the usual question, that of, “WHY in hell did you exit the house from that particular door?”

My answer was simple and to the point: “I do not remember the house being that far off the ground the last time I used that door OR the time before that!”

The several morals to be gleaned from this anecdote are; “When in Rome, go out the same way you came in;”  “Watch for falling handymen;”   OR;  “Some of us have it and the rest are trying to get it.”

“So, Now you know!”     Dj.

Demijon

The Legacy

I suppose that the greatest thing that was passed down to me from my paternal grandfather would be a sense of humor.  He enjoyed life to the fullest and found humor in almost any situation.  Although he died when I was nine years old; I still remember his booming laughter and his outlook that earned him the reputation of searching for the fun in every occurrence.

Gram-pa had a serious side as well; but he only displayed this side of himself when necessary to teach the importance of something. Otherwise, being around him as a small child was all fun and games. Sitting in his lap and making an attempt at “Cussing” would bring on peals of laughter; as I desperately tried to impress on him just how “grown up” I was.

Allison Braddock was his name, and to most he was simply known as “Uncle Alse”. He was PA to my father and my uncles and aunts, and none would think of making any decision involving new ideas without first consulting PA.  Long before his death; he divided his modest holdings of land into smaller farms for all of his children, and he continued to live at the “home place” along with an uncle that would inherit this place upon his death.

Known far and wide for his love of practical jokes; he could expound for hours on the subject of playing tricks on different people.  He also had a knack for the telling of tall tales. Monsters of his own creation, were a source of wide-eyed fascination for any and all toddlers that usually were found in attendance.

He told of these monsters devouring children if they did not behave as they were supposed to; but was quick to assure the ones present that he would protect them if these monsters appeared while they were in his custody.

Since I was born during the great depression of the early 1930’s, having a Gram-pa that was not required to work so hard in order to survive was the only source of entertainment available to me, and his love of humor was instilled in me from an early age.

By practicing some of Gram-pa’s humorous outlooks, I have been better able to cope with most of the problems that have faced me; with an altogether different attitude than would have been possible if it had not been for this “training.”

I have Gram-pa to thank for this legacy.

Demijon

Reasons Explained.

“NO.”   “We don’t speak a different language!”  “It’s just that “OUR” language and “YOURS,” don’t Jive!

“Car-jack” was the definition for a device used to elevate an Automobile; and the word “Hi-jack” was used to indicate elevating it further?

Screen doors at the Grocery were emblazoned with the words; “Merita is good bread.” and/or “Pepsi-Cola hits the spot.”

Shoeshine Stands were standard equipment in all Barbershops as well as a “Tonic” applied with every haircut?

“Lace Curtains;”  were washed, starched and dried, on “Curtain Stretchers.”

“Petcock” was a device; located underneath car radiators; that must be opened and water drained to prevent it from freezing during cold weather: and it was not a  “Rooster that you had trained.”

The building of houses were accomplished with, ‘Non/Electric’,  Hand Saws”, “Crosscut Saws”; and “Hammers”, and with “Galvanized Tin,” as the most popular Roofing material.

Radios and Heaters, were never included as standard equipment; on ‘any‘; but the most expensive Automobiles.

A family was considered “Riff-Raff;” if their yards was not kept free from all grass and, ‘swept at least once per week’.

The most important ‘Mail’ that the majority of families received were the Sears Roebuck Catalog” and “The Market Bulletin.”

The “Hoover Cart;” which was nothing more than an adaptation of an axle and two wheels, from an abandoned  Automobile.  Powered by a “Horse” or a  “Mule:”  This was, ‘at least;’ Transportation of a sort.

“Church Pews”, were strewn with “Hand-Held Fans”, advertising Funeral Homes on one side and ‘paintings’ of “Heaven” on the other.

“Warming-closets,” that were located above the cooking surface of “Wood-Fired Cook Stoves;” kept leftovers warm with built-up heat from the Stovepipe. 

‘Chicken-Wire’ enclosures for the ‘Garden Spot’,  were used as a deterrent from Rabbits and other Predators.

An abundance of “China-berry” Trees; in every yard that provided a ‘dense shade’ during the summer months, were the norm.

The Warm Breezes and the aroma of  “Freshly-Turned Earth,” announced the arrival of spring.

‘Winter’ and  ‘Summer,’ “Union Suits,” back then; were essential components of Men’s Underwear.

“Crinoline Petticoats”, were stylish as a part of all, “Young Ladies Wardrobe”.

Riding in a “Rumble Seat”, with the “Girl Of Your Dreams;”  was, ‘believe it or not;’  the ultimate enjoyment.

Every “Traveling Carnival,” included a tent, to house the “Hoochie-Koochie”  Shows.

These are “ONLY A FEW,” of the precious memories that I hold dear; and continue to savor as a part of my past..

It may be interesting for you “Young Folks;” to record a few of your favorites.  “You Know:”  “Just to explain to “YOUR CHILDREN;”  why; “YOU TALK SO FUNNY.”

Demijon

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