Playing for ‘Keeps.’

My right shoe was permanently scarred on the inside of the toe from my habit of dragging it while hopping in a circle in order to draw a marble ring.  With a pocket full of colorful marbles, including at least one log-roller;‘ my arsenal was complete.  I was ready to compete with any takers and “Play for keeps.”  This was serious business in the late 1930′s.

Not only did my shoes show evidence of my adopted profession; the knees of my trousers indicated that I was indeed someone to be reckoned with.  So much so that major designers of blue jeans began to pattern their latest fashions after my well-worn pants, some half a decade later.

By the manufacturing of blue jeans with the knees already torn out, they demonstrated their appreciation of me as a trend-setter.  It is unfortunate that I did not secure a patent for the worn knees.

Once the ring had been drawn and as many marbles as there were players were lined up in the center, it was time for determination of who would “shoot” first.  This was accomplished by drawing a straight line, again with the toe, some, ten / 12, paces behind the ring.

The competitors lined up and pitched’ their favorite shooter toward the line.  When all had pitched, the player whose marble landed or rolled nearest the line was declared first.” Next closest to the line was second;” and so on, until everyone was qualified in their starting position.

With all of these preparations concluded, each player, in turn, dropped onto his knees just outside the ring; and with his shooting marble curled in one hand, flicked the shooter’ toward the marbles in the center.

Any marbles which one succeeded in knocking from the ring became the permanent property of that player.

Very few girls engaged in this sport, primarily because dresses were not suitable attire for the game; but perhaps the major reason; was that they frowned upon any sport that was being played for keeps.’  In this era, the fine art of playing marbles was considered a man’s game;” period.

Altercations were more or less expected during the course of this competition simply because someone was bound to be accused of fudging,’  ’round-ups,’ ‘tater hills,’  or scores of other, so-called, illegal techniques that would give them an unfair advantage.

Since no player wished to lose all of his marbles, there were times when some unscrupulous competitor would attempt to slip a “pee-dab” into the ring.  This was nothing more than clay, softened with water,’ ‘spit,’ or other liquids (?).  It was then rolled into the size and shape of a marble and allowed to dry in the sun.

If, by chance, an unscrupulous competitor had been discovered entering a pee-dab,’ the next shooter” was sure to sort through his pocket full of marbles until he found his dreaded “steel.

This ammunition” was a Steel Ball-Bearing, that was slightly larger than the rest of his marbles.  When a pee-dab,’ was struck with sufficient force by the ‘Steel;’ it was certain to disintegrate.  As a general rule, anyone who substituted the pee-dab’ was banned from competition because, as I mentioned earlier, this was serious business.

I have not played the game for something like seventy years, but I believe that I could still shoot with the best of them.  However, there are several reasons why the sport of playing marbles will remain a part of my past.

Number #1: I seriously doubt that I could whistle up enough people with sufficient knowledge of the game to serve as competent opponents.

Number #2: my clothing will not bear the strain.

Number # 3: (and the most important reason), is the fact that; if I were able to hunker down in the correct position for a serious game; it would require several people and quite possibly a chain hoist to, “help me get back on my feet.”

Demijon

A pocket full of marbles in a pair of overalls with holes in the knees was worn much as a “BADGE OF HONOR,”  in those ‘olden-days.’    Dj.

RAY.

One thing that is very important for men to remember that; as women grow ‘older,’ it is harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping as when they were younger.  When you notice this, try not to yell at them.  Some are easily offended; and there is nothing worse than an ‘over sensitive’  woman.

Hi:”  “My name is RAY.”  Please allow me to relate how I handled the situation with my wife Julie; when I took ‘early retirement,’  last year.  It became necessary for Julie to get a full-time job, for both the extra income and for the health benefits that we needed.

Shortly after she started working,  I noticed she was beginning to show her age.  I usually get home from the golf course about the same time she gets home from work.

Although she knows how hungry I am; she almost always says she has to rest for a half hour or so before she starts dinner.  I don’t yell at her. Instead,  I tell her to take her time and just ‘wake me up,’ when she gets dinner on the table.

I generally have lunch in the Grill at the golf club; so eating out in the evening, is not reasonable.  I’m ready for some ‘home-cooked grub’ when I hit that door.

She used to do the dishes as soon as we finished eating. But now it’s not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after dinner. I do what I can by diplomatically reminding her several times each evening, that they won’t clean themselves.

I know she really appreciates this, as it does seem to motivate her to get them done before she goes to bed.  Usually, she does need a little ‘reminder.’

I think another symptom of aging is complaining.  For example; she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her ‘lunch hour.’

But, boys; Let’s face it.  “We take them for better or worse.”  So: I just smile and offer encouragement.

I tell her to stretch it out over two or three days.  That way she won’t have to rush so much.  I also gently, remind her that missing lunch completely now and then, wouldn’t hurt her any, (if you know what I mean).

I like to think that being ‘diplomatic’ is one of my strong points.  You know the adage:  “Kindness, discourages Wrath.”

When doing simple jobs; she seems to think that she needs more rest periods. For one example:  Last week; she had to take a break when she was only half finished mowing the lawn.  I try hard not make a scene.  I’m a fair man.

I told her to fix a nice, big, cold, glass of freshly squeezed Lemonade and just sit for a while.  And; as long as she is making one, she may as well bring one for me.

I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Julie.  I’m not saying that showing this much consideration is easy.  Many men will find it difficult.  Some will find it impossible!

“Nobody knows better than I do, how frustrating women can get as they get older. However, guys; if you just use a little more tact and less criticism of your aging wife because of this article, I will consider that writing it was well worthwhile. After all; we are put on earth to help each other”… “Right?”  

regards, Ray.

An  exclusive editorial from “THE TOWN TATTLER:”  Everyone’s County-wide   newspaper:

“Ray Redford, died suddenly Thursday, May 28.”  He was found; draped across his Golf Cart, with an Acme, extra-long, 50-inch,Big Bertha” Driver,’  rammed up his backside with only 2 inches of grip showing.”  

“His wife; Julie was arrested, but the ‘all-woman jury,’ accepted her defense that he; accidentally sat down on it!”

Demijon.

Wouldn’t it be great if there were more compassionate people like “Ray?”  Dj.

“Their” Roads.

It has been some time since, my ‘better-half’ and I decided to abandon our day-long sessions with America’s favorite Authors and a Television Set; to visit with Brother and his Wife, who lives in another State.

We had hardly gotten out of our driveway when we began to think this was a bad idea.  Judging from the bumper to bumper traffic on the thoroughfares, it was fairly obvious that these two old fogies’ had absolutely no business on ‘THOSE’ folks’ roads.

We did, however, arrive safely and spent the better portion of the day catching-up on all the news, gossip, and “the remember whens?”  “You name it; we covered it.”  All of this while inhaling cups of 100 proof coffee.

Even Th’ Bear’ was excited to get his ears “skatched” and to be the center of attention for a short period before the talk got around to all the; Did you hear about?”  “Where did you find that unique vase?”  “I love the flower arrangements on your patio.”  “I saw his obituary in the paper.”  And of course, “Oh, it’s just an old thing that I picked up at the Mall.”  etc.

An informal lunch was served that, in no way, inhibited the reminiscing until it was time to begin the trek back to the poor house.’  Although the inhabitants of the vehicles on the roads this time were different; they too, seemed somewhat irritated that these two Silver-Haired-individuals, with the Poodle sitting between them were in their way.’

By some miracle, we arrived home safely; but totally exhausted.  About all we could do was to eat a bite and crawl into the bed.  I am reasonably sure that Brother and his Wife did much the same; citing the fact that they too, are on the downhill side of Medicare.

It is truly amazing that a couple of hours of driving on today’s highways can take the joy out of what would otherwise be a simple, relaxing visit with kinfolks.

A note to all those drivers who cussed us;’ while we were traveling to and from.  “We apologize for being in your’ roads.”

Perhaps, it will sooth your feathers to know that our traveling is quite limited by our frail bodies; and of course, ‘The cost of fuel for our Vehicle’.

So:  “In the immediate future; it will not be us who is causing your ‘headaches,’ as you speed along on your journey to wherever.  However: my friends,  It is a well-known fact that eventually;”  “Your days; of similar incidents are coming!”  “You can take that thought to the Bank!”

Demijon

Just  sitting and watching the Tractor rust is not really as bad as we once thought;  Right; Brother?      Dj.

 

The Mower You Mow.

Efforts for readying the machinery for another season of lawn care prompted re-posting of this article for the enjoyment of those who know little of the days “Back When.”

For most of my young life, I was forced to spend most of my waking hours applying the teachings from early childhood that grass was evil and all means were to be exercised to eradicate this scourge from the face of the earth.

Our livelihoods depended on the ridding of the fields of this prolific deterrent to the health of the young, tender plants on which we depended for food as well as income.

The abhorrence that we held for grass in the crops was carried over into the yards of most farms. Hours were spent in hoeing, raking and smoothing the entire yards with brush-brooms that were nothing more than dogwood branches which had been allowed to dry until all the leaves had fallen from them.

They were then tied into small bundles. These so-called brooms left the yards with a clean, swept look that everyone considered appropriate for a well cared-for homestead.

As time passed, the thinking of many farmers changed in favor of customs that were practiced by their uptown neighbors, and they began to cultivate within the confines of the yards, the same grasses that they worked so hard to remove from their fields.

It became evident that a way to control the growth of this grass would have to be found, hence, the Sling-Blade, was invented.  A strip of flat metal that was sharpened on both sides and mounted to a handle by means of two metal bars shaped at a 45 degree angle.

This tool, when used properly, would allow the operator to clip the tops from the grasses with a back and forth swinging motion.

Necessity for an easier and faster way to keep the grass in control prompted the invention of a series of blades, powered by cogs attached to wheels.  These blades were positioned in a way that forced them to contact a sharpened bar, creating a cutting motion when pushed through the grass by the operator, holding onto a T shaped handle.

This reel-type mower was used extensively until the invention of a small gasoline engine which could be attached to the top of this contraption and served as the power to not only turn the blades but could also self-propel the mower by belts and pulleys.

Eventually, this mower gave way to the modern rotary, power mower that is still in use today in many forms. Although the engines power a spinning blade that does the cutting, much effort is required by the operator to push the mower through the grass.

As more powerful engines were developed and easier ways to perform this laborious chore were sought, the invention of the modern-day ‘riding-mower’ changed our lives as much as any innovation in history.

Instead of struggling with sling-blades, push type, and self-propelled mowers, we now can sit in a somewhat comfortable seat and simply drive the mower to the designated area and relax as it performs the work for us.  Along with these power tools came a different designation of the areas around our homes.

We now refer to the grassy carpets that surround our houses and require so much of our time as lawns instead of yards.  No more do we cut the grass.  Now we mow. “Even sounds better: Right?”

As a result of these innovative machines, our lives have been made easier and our waistlines have become larger; but I for one, would not relish the thoughts of returning to the days of swept yards and / or sling blades.

Demijon

Now; that we have a nice,comfortable, way to “MOW.” We will be forced to revert to the “Sling-Blade”  again, because of the rising cost of FUEL.    Dj.

“Breakfast:”

And other ‘meals’  prepared ‘without’ modern, electronic, appliances.

In the days of yore,’  in rural America; ‘hot meals’ were prepared and served twice each day.  The first, of course, was breakfast.  As a general rule, the father was the first to arise and started a fire in the wood burning cook stove.

When the stove was sufficiently heated; the mother began mixing and kneading the dough for biscuits and put a pot of grits on the stove top to simmer.

Fresh eggs were gathered from the chicken coop and slices of ham or bacon were cut from the salt cured meat in the smoke house.  The mother continued with the preparation of the meal while the father tended to the livestock.

The children were then awakened; dressed for school and assigned chores such as setting the table, drawing water from the well, bringing in wood for the cook stove as well as the fireplace if needed.

When all the chores are completed, the tantalizing smells permeate the kitchen as the ham / bacon is taken from the fry pan and the biscuits are taken out of the oven.

The grits are smothered with red-eye-gravy,’  *(concocted from a mixture of ‘flour,’ ‘coffee,’ & ‘grease,’ from frying meats); and a dozen eggs were removed from sizzling in more of the grease in the frying pan.

The family sits at the huge table to fortify themselves with the first meal of the day.  As the sun rises, the children leave for school and the father leaves for a day of toil in the fields.

The mother clears the table and cleans the dishes, makes the beds and readies herself for a day of boiling and scrubbing the family’s laundry.  Her labors are interrupted to prepare the noon meal or dinner.’

Dinner is much the same as breakfast; with fresh vegetables replacing the morning victuals.  When all is ready, the iron bell is rung calling the father from the far off fields.  After eating, a snack is set aside for the school children.

The dinner food that was left over, is placed in the warming oven’ of the cook-stove, to be consumed at the evening meal or supper.’

The warming oven is nothing more than a couple of metal cabinets built around the pipe from the stove that allows the smoke from the fire to escape into the chimney.

Supper, during the Summer months, was sometimes consumed cold; since the stove was not heated for additional warmth throughout the Kitchen.

Certainly these folks would scoff if told that one day, that food could be put into a small electronic oven; push a couple buttons and a meal could be served piping hot in minutes.  They would swear that something of this nature was only a dream and would never work.’

Every time I use the Microwave Oven atop our electric range, I am reminded of removing my supper from the warming oven’ of a wood-fired cook stove.

Demijon

There was talk, back then; of ‘Drive-In Restaurants;’  but everyone agreed that;  “Those ‘Hi-Fa-Lootin-Eatin-Places,’ will never work.”         Dj.

Funny, Funny!

I once found a cartoon in a magazine that depicted a small boy sitting in a bathtub full of water, and holding a washcloth.

Leaning on the edge of the tub was his brother waiting for his turn.  Rising from the water immediately behind the young bather was a series of bubbles.  The caption, obviously coming from the brother, stated: “Do it again, Danny!”

The perpetrator of the cartoon had discovered the secret of mirth.  Unspoken was the indication of what had transpired; however, the response from the brother left no doubt.  I felt this extremely comical, and yet in very good taste.

Humor, for the most part, does not have to be vulgar in order to be funny.  In many cases, the deliberate omission of certain parts of a story can enhance the absurdity and the story is interrupted as hilarious.

Comedian Jack Benny was probably the master of insinuation. By placing his hand to his face, turning his head slightly and doing nothing but looking, he could communicate with his audience and induce peals of laughter.

Many of today’s comedians rely on vulgar language and insults for an attempt to be funny.  Although I am far from being a prude, I consider this as a lack of talent. ‘Foul language’ is not a necessary requirement in order to convey mirth.

Neither is the ‘put-down’  of other races, religions, sex, or origins of birth.  Simple insinuation with the omitted parts being supplied by the imagination of the listener is usually enough to render the story entertaining.

For many years I have been a connoisseur of humor.  I suppose my particular, favorite comedian would have to be Tim Conway.

He is, perhaps, one of the very few who can capture the attention of anyone by doing absolutely nothing.  To merely walk upon a stage and send the audience into hysterics is talent in its purest form.

When combined with fellow comedienne, Carol Burnett, any show is nothing short of fantastic.  And the nearest either of them come to obscenity is in the form of insinuation.

Their unique brand of humor is such that the audience responds with a standing ovation at every program; and with only one request.  That request being, simply??

Do it again, Danny!”

Demijon

Is it possible to be ‘Totally Partial?’      Dj.


Averting Catastrophe.

Arriving in town in the rumble seat of the Model A Ford, I clutched the quarter in my hand and made a bee-line for the theater for my weekly dose of double-feature entertainment. 

Today’s feature was “Dracula meets Wolf Man” starring Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Lon Chaney as Wolf Man.  This thrilling feature would be followed by a Hopalong Cassidy, western and the 3rd chapter of the “Jungle Jim” Serial. 

I paid my .09¢ admission and stopped inside and spent another nickel for a box of popcorn.  I was led to a vacant seat by the usher with a flashlight and settled down into the plush seat for an evening of thrills and chills.

Lon Chaney had just turned into Wolf Man when the screen went dark.  I quickly turned and saw ‘flames’ radiating  through the ports of the projection booth located at the rear of the balcony. 

As one body, everyone in the theater exited the double doors to the outside.  I found out later that the acetate’ film was highly flammable and the electric-arc light from the projector had caused the fire.  None of us waited to see if the fire was extinguished.  We were simply thankful that we had gotten out in one piece.

Years later, as an adult, I was employed as a shipping clerk at a Motion Picture Exchange.  Among my duties, in addition to shipping film to theaters, was to catalog and store heavy cans of acetate film into fire-proof vaults.  Soon afterward, safety film’ was manufactured and the acetate film was not allowed and was relegated entirely to the protective vaults. 

With the influx of all our prints being the new safety film, we were in dire need of space to store our product.  The other shoe was dropped when the Fire Department demanded that the Exchange get rid of all acetate film. 

Our only solution was to rent a truck, load it with the acetate film, and carry it to our Atlanta Exchange, where there was more vault room available.

I was elected to drive the truck with it’s dangerous cargo to Atlanta.  My first misfortune came when I was directed onto the D.M.V. scales and they discovered that the truck was overloaded.  This amounted to a conference call to the Company for assurances that the Company would pay the overloading fee.

Finally, the truck was unloaded in Atlanta and I was on my way back home when I met a particular car.  Someone leaned out the rear window of the oncoming vehicle and threw a golf ball into the windshield of the rental truck. 

A Georgia State Highway Patrolman was sympathetic when I explained all my woes.  He agreed for me to drive the almost disabled truck back home and even gave me a note of explanation in case another Officer stopped me. 

An overloaded truck, a flammable cargo, a busted windshield, and no sleep for forty-eight hours did quite a number on me.  After a day to recuperate, I returned to a safe, shipping department and continued business as usual.

However, I have never forgotten the fire, that was caused by acetate film in that theater, during my youth.  I didn’t even think to bring the rest of my popcorn out with me.  I have often wondered if they would have refunded my nickel if I had hung around.

Demijon

“Back then; I thought that I had a handle on life; but those two incident’s, ‘darned-near broke it.”     Dj.

End of an Era!

There are times when I think that Television is the devil’s advocate; at least so far as someone like me, who is so naive that we will believe that “Those Publishers” will indeed send us the ten million dollar check.

Every month I rush down to ‘New Carpet, LTD;’ in order to take advantage of the sale of the century before it’s gone forever.  I am even convinced that ‘Nordi-Trac, Inc.’ will rid me of the unsightly bulges around my waistline.

I once refused to purchase an automobile from Ajak Motors, Inc, because of a commercial from a Competitor,’ that guaranteed to “beat anyone’s price.”

They did. I saved $3.26.  In fact, I ordered the “Amazing Work-No-More Polish,” from them; and used it on the vehicle.   Afterwards, I grew to love the ‘dull-gray primer finish.’

As proof of my dedication to the medium, I have even thrown caution to the winds and ‘tried at home’, some of the stunts performed by; ‘Professional drivers on a closed course.’  “Do you care to see my scars?  Look quickly, before they load me into the ambulance, and the wrecker arrives for my car.”

You asked about both swollen, black eye’s?  When the Telephone Company told me to; “Reach out and touch someone;”  they did not mention that her, Husband was nearby and weighed 365 pounds’.

My ugly, gray, hair has been remedied by the “New and Improved Color Restorer.”  It has saved me the bother of combing and brushing.  Now, I can fix my hair by washing my face.

In addition, “Wrinkles-Be-Gone,” has eliminated my need to shave. Along with the wrinkles went the whiskers and ‘three layers of skin.’

Headaches are no longer a problem for me.  When doctors got around to recommending “Seagram’s Headache Powders, 2 to1″;  I was one of the first in line.  After my initial three-month’s supply, I do not notice the pain.  Sure, it’s still there, but now, “I simply don’t give a damn.”

Several times each week, I call the law firm of ‘Snodgrass & Snodgrass.’   Not out of need for an attorney; but because the T.V. commercial states that they are “Experience Professionals Who Care.”  Each time they assure me that,  “It weren’t my fault.”

My addiction to ‘the  tube;’ is such that I am on a first name basis with all of the Psychic Friends’ on the network, and I can easily relate to the guests on “Sallie- Jesse” as well as Mr. Springer.”

My credit card number is passed around between promoters of such products as the “Amazing Veg-a-matic;”  the “Bob Villa’s Toolbox;”  the “Eddie Arnold Sings Bach CD,” and the “Don Knott’s Workout Video,” (not sold in stores).

If there is doubt in your mind as to the authenticity of any product that sponsors your favorite program, please give me a call.  The number is BR-594.  Your doubts and fears will diminish after a brief testimony from one who has tried it all.

Demijon

A recent financial report from one of the Networks indicated that their ”Ratings” dropped dramatically;”  when notification of my retirement as a T.V. Addict,”  was announced.

Don’t worry;  This information will not ‘Spoil Me.’  I pride myself as being a ‘one-voice ‘bolster,’  for, “Real truth behind all advertised Products.”  Dj. 

Home Remedies

For all of my young life I have been told by those, wiser than me, that ice cream’ and ‘fish’ is a deadly combination when consumed at the same time, or during the same sitting.

Back then, I had absolutely no reason to doubt the wisdom of this; perhaps because of the fact that when I was growing up, it was seldom that we were blessed with the two of them at the same time.

I now find that this is not altogether a proven fact and I myself, have indulged in an evening of seafood followed by a dessert of ice cream.  The fact that I am still able to; “sit up & take nourishment,”  offers credence that the two will NOT kill.  Hurt maybe; by increasing the waistline; But kill?  ‘No.’

I am sure that most of us have been inundated with ‘old sayings’ such as this and most of them, we usually take with a grain of salt.  There are, however, some of these rumors that have recently been proven to be helpful and some of the old remedies are now recommended by doctors.

When I was growing up there were illnesses, that are now very rare.  One of these is ‘Risings.’  These were large boils that appeared on the skin and were very painful.

One treatment for these was to place a small square of ‘fat pork’ over it and secure with a bandage. This was done to draw it to a head’.  When the time was right, the core would come out and the rising’ would heal.

We were told to “Feed a cold and starve a fever’.  This was self explanatory in that you simply ate a lot when you suffered from a cold, and abstained as much as possible if a fever was present.  No one ever expounded on just what to do, if both a fever ‘and’ a cold was experienced at the same time.

Then there was the ‘Croup’.  Many people have vivid memories of a ‘dry, hacking, cough’, and hearing parents exclaim;  That child’s got the Croup.”

If this malady occurred, the standard method of treatment was to utilize a square of ‘outing cloth’, with Vick’s Salve,’ spread on it, and pin this to the ‘union-suit’ just over the chest.  If the cough was considered bad enough, you sometimes were required to wear this ‘cure’ to school and this could be somewhat embarrassing.

A great number of childhood illnesses; i.e. “Measles, Mumps, Whooping Cough, etc.”  were treated merely, with bed rest, and lots of hot liquids and herbs.

Only in severe cases would one be carried to a Doctor.  Most of the time, we weathered the storm without outside help.  Vital, prevention remedies, were handed down from generation to generation; and most of them were adhered to, religiously.

(There were even a few unconfirmed, reports  about ‘addiction,’  to certain remedies; for instance;  (“Have you noticed that Mr. Smothers sure takes a lot of ‘Headache-Powders’ and ‘Belly-Washers”)?  

Cuts and bruises usually were treated by applying ‘Camphor’ to the affected area and tying strips of old, clean, bed sheets over them.  If a cut was known to have come from any rusted metal, additional treatment was necessary.  Scraps of ‘wool cloth’  were burned in a bucket which produced a thick smoke.

It was believed then that holding the affected area within the smoke would encourage a ‘healing’ reaction, (?).  “Red streaks flowing from the injury, toward the Heart, was thought to be a sure sign of Blood Poison.”

Springtime, always brought with it, the ideas that we needed cleansing of all the bad, winter organisms, in our bodies; hence, generous doses of ‘Sulfur and Molasses’  were dispensed.

After a treatment of this foul-tasting concoction, and numerous trips down the path to the Privy, we felt that we had been cleansed’ of all present illnesses, as well as some parts of our bodies that we had rather kept.

The practice of medicine is superb today; and I do NOT” advocate that we regress to all of the home treatments; but if we only knew some of the remedies for minor’ ailments, then just maybe our lives could be a little less complicated.

Some of the aforementioned treatments are good and some are bad, but the really hard part is trying to decide which is which.

If we only knew.

Demijon

Pharmacies, today: Offer many ‘over-the-counter’ remedies, ‘hyping’  ‘sure-fire’ treatments to prevent the, “Coughing, Stuffy-Head, Sneezy; “Why-in-the-hell is the room spinning,”  for minor illnesses and injuries.  It is truly a shame that they were not  available; “In the dark ages; when I needed them.”      Dj.

Age: Twelve years.

The only thing that I really owned at this early age was a patched-up bicycle.  It was a resurrected product from the local dump.  However, it served the purpose for transportation for a young lad who desperately needed “wheels.”

If memory serves, the cost was  $10.00; paid by my Father to the mechanic who put parts of different vehicles together, that finally ended up as an operating “bike.” 

There were no fenders over the slick tires.  The seat was covered by the remnants of a Fertilizer bag. The frame was for a male’s bike; but the handlebars were rescued from a female’s bike; hence, they were too short. 

No chain-guard, meant that I had to roll my right pants-leg up to avoid entanglement with the chain.  It was a pitiful piece of junk; but, ‘IT WAS A BIKE!”
I had convinced Daddy that the $10.00 would not be wasted, due to the fact that I could run errands with more speed and efficiency with this means of transportation.  For whatever the reason, he agreed to pay for the extremely ugly machine.

Shortly after acquiring the bike; the Army elected to utilize our neck of the woods’ for maneuvers in order to train soldiers in the fine art of combat.  As it happened, there was a Company of trainees camped in a wooded area rather close to our home.  It was here that I spent a good amount of free time on my bike.

Once, when I was roaming around the bivouac area, one Soldier asked me if I would ride my bike to the local Grocery Store and get him a package of cigarettes.  “Of course,” I replied. 

He handed me a one dollar bill, and I rushed to Mr. Roberts’ Store and bought a package of Wings cigarettes for .15 cents.  When I returned, the Soldier said, “KEEP THE CHANGE.”  

Another Soldier, who shared that pup tent, asked if I could get him a bar of candy, on my next trip, and handed me 50¢. Two G.I.’s behind them wanted Soft Drinks, and on and on it went.

My young, devious, mind began working overtime and I asked Mr. Roberts if I could charge’ a few bars of candy and a few packages of cigarettes until I could deliver them and return to the Store and pay for them. 

He agreed, and I left with my pockets filled with merchandise.  When I had sold all these commodities and paid Mr. Roberts, I had a net profit of “$2.15.”  

My bicycle had no basket, so I rummaged into the trash behind the hardware store and found a wooden ammunition box that would fit in front of the handlebars. 

At daddy’s blacksmith shop, I picked up two slightly used, # 1 Mule-Shoes and nailed them to the box, to serve as hangers over the handlebars.  I was now ready to “Go into Business,” on a larger scale.

Thereafter, when I had any free time, I would ride to the store and fill the wooden box with candy, cigarettes and the like; and ride to the bivouac area.  As a general rule almost everyone who purchased any item from me would either tell me to keep the change or would tip me well, for my trouble.

These G.I.’s were not permitted to patronize the local store and were appreciative for my running their errands for them.  I cannot remember how much profit I accrued during my early business venture; but I did manage to repay daddy the $10.00 that he expended for the bicycle and had a small nest egg for the necessities; ‘That a 12 year old, must have.’ 

You know:  Comic Books, Popsicles,  Dixie-Cup- Ice-Cream,  Big-Orange Belly Washers;  and enough change’, to rattle in my pockets at school.  All this was very important to a twelve year old, in the days shortly after “The Great Depression.”

I have to thank all the Soldiers who taught a young, ambitious, Merchant,(?)’  that; if one is willing to exert a little effort; opportunities are out there’.  All it takes is a $10.00, bicycle with a scrap, wooden ammunition box anchored onto the handlebars by two mule shoes, [...].

And, of course; an understanding Storekeeper like Mr. Roberts.

Demijon

Fact:  Opportunities are never lost!  Someone else will take advantage of the ones you miss”.   Dj.