ALL HALLOWS EVE

Reblogged from 10/31/2013

witch mask       The ringing of the bell, the little ones dressed in elaborate costumes, and the little choruses of ‘Trick or Treat’ always reminds me of our not-so-elaborate costumes and our quests for candy on Halloween.

If you could get your parents to splurge, cloth tailor-made half masks, just like the Lone Ranger wore, were reasonably priced at grocery stores. However, most of us wore a different kind of mask, also available at grocery stores. In September, General Mills and Kelloggs would begin to print masks on their large cereal boxes of Cheerios, Kix, Wheaties, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, etc..

Cereal masks All you had to do was cut on the dotted lines, face, eye and mouth holes, poke the holes that were used for the string to hold the mask on your head. There were a variety of ‘faces’, a girl with blond braids, an Indian, cowboy, clown, pirate, pig and new ones each year. The rest of your costume consisted of your after-school clothes. Flannel shirts, a must.

We never went down into the village. Too many kids and too little candy. And we never went from farm to farm. Too far between stops and too many dogs. Luckily, pockets of Suburbia were springing up in the ‘Heights’. You could hit 5 or 6 houses in a clump and then move on to the next group.

My favorite house was a far walk, and there were only two other houses in the vicinity. Plus the house was right next to a cemetery. But it was well worth it. The president of Paramount Pies lived there and always had a big Halloween party. And he gave out the pies as treats. Those pies were my favorite treats. Individual pies set in cardboard pie tins and wrapped in cellophane. They cost 12 cents in stores at a time when you could still buy a candy bar for a nickel. We’d hit that house several times on our routes. We always got more pies without any hassle, because the person or persons answering the door were celebrating good times. They were always dressed in fancy costumes, and the young ladies always felt sorry for us because of our lack of costumes, only cardboard masks. Didn’t bother us.

Another must-stop was the priests’ house. Not many kids from the village bothered to climb up the church hill, and it was a long walk for the kids from the ‘Heights’. But like the pie house, it was worth the hike. We timed it to get there just before 9 PM because the yard light was turned off at 9, signaling the end Halloween at the house. Mrs. Farr, the housekeeper, would answer the door with the shopping bag of candy. She’d just hand us the bag, which always had a lot of candy; because, even though they never had many kids come to the door, she always bought a big supply of candy just in case. Or maybe she knew we would be ringing the bell and wanted to make sure we got a big treat. Even with our masks on, she always called us by name, warn us to be careful crossing the highway, and  reminding us that ‘tomorrow’ was a Holy Day of Obligation. Then she would stand on the stoop and wait until we were out of the grounds.

The yard light would go out, and we’d head home. Halloween was over for us also.

Except for one more stop to get another pie.

 

The Old Hand of Oakdale

Published SPPP, Bulletin Board 10/31/13

pig mask

TH-TH-THATS ALL FOLKS!

JAYCEE & THE SENATOR

 

 

the tomboyToday, Jaycee, our youngest grandchild is ten years old. So much has happened since this was first posted. My father-in-law passed away several months ago. Senator Klobuchar took a run at the Presidency. Our WORLD changed perhaps forever.

And since I can not give Jaycee a birthday hug, I am reposting this event.

Happy Birthday, Jaycee. Grandpa loves you. 

 

Old Hand of Oakdale:

My father-in-law was presented, belatedly, with the French Legion of Honor for his service in the liberation of France during WWII. The medal was presented by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar.

John and Amy

After the official ceremony there was picture taking and hand shaking. The place was packed. Some of us went out in the lobby where Jaycee, our three year old granddaughter was amusing herself by sliding across the smooth marble bench.

Senator Klobuchar walked by.

‘Hey,’ Jaycee shouted, and stood in front of the Senator, ‘Your shoes are really pretty.’

‘Thank you,’ said Senator Amy. ‘Your sandals are pretty also. And look, your toenail polish matches your outfit.’

‘I know,’ said Jaycee. She shrugged her shoulders and extended her arms, palms up. ‘That’s why I painted them that color.’ Then she went back to polishing the bench with her butt. 

A three year old and a U.S. Senator. – Just two girls talking fashions.

Published BB 7/8/13

As much as I try to avoid politics in my blog, today I must. Please. please, do as the scientists and medical professions are telling us to do. Don’t listen to unqualified and self-centered politicians who are telling us otherwise. Let’s worry about getting the economy back after we take care of the virus that has changed our world. STAY HEALTHY.

PS; As I post this, Senator Klobuchar’s husband is hospitalized with pneumonia and the Virus.

 

UNCLE ELMER’S GOAT

billy-goat

The Old Hand: Another Back In the Day

 

Most Christmas gag gifts are forgotten by New Year’s. Some however last a lot longer. My great-uncle Elmer and his old friend, Gene, kept one going for years.

A couple acquaintances of Elmer wanted to give their children a pet and they settled upon a cute little billy goat kid. The problem was the kid outgrew his cuteness very quickly. He became a real problem for the parents and the children who wouldn’t even go outside unless the goat was tied up.

Since nobody answered their ad offering a free goat, they did the only thing they could think of to get rid of the animal; they took it out to Elmer’s farm and gave it to him, knowing well he was too nice to refuse it.

I image that the goat had been given a name by it’s former owners, but uncle Elmer named it Goat. He never was too imaginative about his names. He had a border collie that was the best cattle dog I ever saw. Elmer called the dog, Dog. He had several horses with the same name, Horse. He had about twenty cows with the name Cow, except for the one he called Bull.

His first child was a boy and was given a normal name, which not too many people remembered over the years. Elmer nicknamed his son, Boy, the first time he saw him, and the name stuck all the rest of Boy’s life. As their family grew, Aunt Amanda, laid down the law, no more of those silly names, and the other kids grew up being called by their given names. But since Amanda never cared what he called his animals, Elmer gave them names he thought was appropriate.

Elmer got a lot of teasing about being such a softy and taking Goat. He just laughed and defending his action by saying, ‘You can’t look a gift goat in the mouth’. Although there were many times, he wished he had.

That animal was foul-smelling, obnoxious, mischievous, contrary, mean, ornery, and the list went on and on. In fact, if you look up some of the aforementioned words in the dictionary, you would probably see a picture of Elmer’s goat.

The one thing nobody ever did twice was turn their back on Goat. It was as if the critter saw the seat of a person’s pants as one big target. Ram! Bam! And after he played his little joke on the poor sap, you could swear there was a smile on Goat’s face.

Of course, Goat never tried anything with Elmer, one big reason was Dog. Not only was Dog a great cattle herder, he was also a darn good goat trainer. Dog could actually make Goat behave. But, if by chance some poor unsuspecting man turned his back on Goat, Dog was known to look the other way. Dog would never allow Goat to accost a woman or a child though, and Goat never tried to after Dog nipped him a few times for even thinking about it.

Gene, one of Elmer’s best friends had a farm a couple miles down the road from Elmer’s. The two had a lot in common, especially teasing and playing practical jokes on each other.

I  loved  Elmer telling the story about Gene hearing drinking goat’s milk was good for arthritis. When Gene found out that Elmer had just been given a goal and  he offered to buy Goat from Elmer. Elmer had that goat sold until some loud-mouth told Gene that Goat was a billy, not a nanny. ‘Yup,’ Elmer would laugh, ‘I’d a paid money to see the first time Gene tried to milk it.’

After almost getting taken by Elmer on the sale of the goat, Gene teased Elmer about the goat every chance he got. ‘Hey, if you want to get Elmer’s goat, just ask him about his Goat.’  Or when Elmer would stop in at the VFW for a euchre game, and Gene was there already, Gene would holler, ‘Hurry up and close the door. Must be a goat outside. I sure can smell it.’

It was the second Christmas of Elmer having the goat that Gene came home from Midnight Mass and saw lights on in the barn and his pack of dogs barking up a storm at the barn door. When he opened the door there was Goat in the box stall with the team of horses. Goat was helping himself to the hay and the two horses were standing as far away from the intruder as possible.

Around Goat’s neck was a large red ribbon and bow. It didn’t take much to figure out who the Santa was that left the present. Thinking back, Gene should have figured something was up when he didn’t see Elmer at Midnight Mass.

Like Elmer, Gene never looked a gift goat in the mouth and accepted it with a laugh. The only thing was Gene never called the goat, Goat. He renamed it Elmer. If Elmer the goat had any ideas that life would be easier without Dog around, he was wrong. While Gene didn’t have a dog like Dog, actually nobody did, Gene had a pack of dogs that managed to keep the goat in line.

And then come the next Christmas and there was no Gene at Midnight Mass, so Elmer wasn’t at all surprise to open the barn door and see Goat, nee Elmer, standing there with the big red ribbon and bow around it’s neck. Dog jumped around and actually licked Goat’s face. Elmer laughed and commented later that at least Dog was happy to have Goat back.

This ritual went on and on. Whoever it was that was going to get the goat made sure he went to Midnight Mass to make it easier on the giver. The red ribbon and bow was an important part of the gift so it was always kept in a safe place. They couldn’t trust it just hanging in the barn for fear the goat might eat it.

The goat, Goat or Elmer depending on which farm he was spending the year, matured thanks to age and to Dog and Gene’s pack of dogs as trainers. It became actually a pet. The two men found a pony harness and cart at an auction and broke the goat to be hitched up and pull it. Whenever kids would come to the farm where the goat was, it was drive-the-goat cart time. The goat and the cart and the kids were also big attractions in the parades at the various fairs and get-togethers during the summers and falls. And although the red ribbon and bow was also an important part of the goat’s wardrobe, the only time he wore it was Christmas Eve.

It was in the summer of a year when Elmer the Goat was living at Gene’s farm that Gene had the fatal heart attack while milking the cows. The day after the funeral Elmer told Gene’s widow what he intended to do and she thought it a good idea. Later that day Elmer came and took the goat, the harness, the cart, and the red ribbon and bow back to his farm – for good.

Every Christmas Eve, Elmer put the red ribbon and bow around the goat’s neck before Midnight Mass and took it off right after. If the goat missed Gene and Gene’s pack of dogs, he never showed it. He seemed content to live at just the one farm and didn’t seem to mind that no one ever called him Goat or Elmer anymore. From the time he came at Elmer’s to stay for good he went by the name, Gene.

 

Published BB and Word Press 2/13/17

APTITUDE/ATTITUDE

250px-2009-731-MN-Cretin-Dehram

Back in the day when Cretin High School was it’s complete name, and it’s only students were teenage boys, and it was affordable to working class families, and the great majority of it’s teachers were Christian Brothers, the school had a program to help steer the students toward a good vocation in later life. This program was the bailiwick of a kindly, soft spoken, elderly Brother we fondly referred to as Brother Aptitude.

During your first three years of schooling, Brother Aptitude would periodically pop into your Home Room and give aptitude tests. During your last year, he would have three private sessions with you in which he would explain the results of the aptitude tests and combined with your academic achievements, would try to steer you towards a good vocation in life that would also interest you. I never got passed the first few minutes of the first session with Brother Aptitude.

I often thought that if I had completed the program, I wouldn’t have wandered from job to job until I finally found a good paying one I was suited for and interested me. Like the one that I worked at for 45 enjoyable years, some of them past the time I could have retired.

And why didn’t I complete this important program? Because I was a smart-alec who spoke before I thought!

For three years I had looked forward to my enlightening sessions with Brother Aptitude. I liked him and his tests. I liked his smile when we passed in the hall. I admired the old man. And finally when the day of the first private session came, I was so excited.

Brother Aptitude’s ‘office’ was in a far corner of the Principal’s outer office. Like all the desks of the Christian Brothers, his sat on an 8” riser with the front of the desk about 6” from the front of the platform. The building’s wall was the his back wall. His one side wall was the wall of the main office, with enough space between it and the platform to allow for entrance and exit. The front and 4th side were just bamboo screens. It wasn’t much of an office, but it did provide a small measure of privacy from the work that went on in the rest of the main office.

At the first of my sessions, Brother Aptitude met me at the outer office door and escorted me to his private domain. I sat in a chair on the floor in front of the platform and his desk, which was piled high with stacks of aptitude tests. He began by telling me what the tests showed what I was most interested in.

I placed highest in ‘literary appreciation’, which was no surprise. I always like to read books and write stories. Next he pointed out that I also placed high in ‘music appreciation’, which was also no surprise to me. It was the 50’s, the beginning of Rock & Roll. Not only did ;we teenagers have tour very own music, there was actually radio stations dedicated to play it. Elvis was King and the Top 40 our playlist.

Brother Aptitude made note of the fact, that I even though I liked music, I was not in the school band. I said that I was into sports. Plus, I had never learned to play a musical instrument.

He argued and told me that I shouldn’t be modest about not playing an instrument just because I might not play one as well as I would like. And he asked again what instrument did I play. This time he was much more forceful.

‘Well, Brother,’ I answered, with a smart-alec quip, ‘I do fool around with the phonograph.’

‘There now,’ he said, looking down at his notes on me, ‘I knew you played an instrument. Now if you are going to get anything out of…’Suddenly it dawned on him what I had actually said.

‘A phonograph!’ he shouted. For such a soft spoken old man, he sure could yell when he wanted to. ‘A phonograph!’ he shouted again.

He leapt to his feet and slammed his hands on the desk, trying to push his chair back at the same time. The slap was more of a push and the front legs of the desk fell off the platform which caused the stacks of papers to spill all over the floor, which caused more yelling from Brother Aptitude, which caused me to stand and jump backwards, which caused the screen behind me to fall over, which caused the side screen to follow suit, which caused the principal’s secretary typing away behind the big office counter to scream and jump up, which caused the principal to rush out of his office, and stand there, hands on hips, staring at the mess.

Poor old Brother Aptitude. His face was beet red. He wasn’t screaming anymore but he was stammering trying to explain his anger. The secretary brought him a glass of water, which caused him to cough and choke and spill on his robe as he tried to get it down.

I just stood there shivering, afraid that my action might trigger a heart attack or a nervous breakdown in the old man. I glanced sideways at the principal waiting for whatever he had in store for me. Corporal punishment and/ or tons of homework were a way of life in the school. Finally, the principal spoke in a calm, low voice. He told me I had better go back to my home room. Then he took Brother Aptitude’s arm and led him slowly into the Principal’s office.

Needless to say, my first session to help me find my vocation, ended. And needless to say, the other two sessions never happened. And needless to say, it took me years to find a vocation I was suited for. Three years of taking aptitude tests right down the drain. I never did receive any type of school punishment for my actions except whenever I happened to meet Brother Aptitude in the hall, he looked the other way. That hurt. I really liked the kindly old man and I never even got a chance to apologize to him.

It wasn’t the first time, nor the last, I must admit, that my smart-alec tongue got me in trouble. Sometimes you live and you still never learn.

Published – BB and Beyond  3/12/17

One of the readers wanted to know what occupation I worked at enjoyable for 45 years. Stage hand.  I figured it out that I had worked a mixture of thousands of happenings in those years, most of them in the field of arts and entertainment, although there were some that were in the fields of politics and athletics. In addition I worked on some movies that were filmed locally and did a bit of touring. While I would never say that everyone of those events were enjoyable, as a whole it was an occupation that I liked very much. And Brother Aptitude did steer me the right way when he said that my interests were in literary and musical appreciation.

There was one big downside, the long hours, the having to work weekends, robbed me of watching my  5 sons grow up. I was so fortunate to have a wife who raised them right, with so little help from me.

There was one big upside though, as soon as they reached the age of being able to work as stagehands, I got to work with them, teach them, learn from them, both as a father and a coworker. The 3 oldest paid their way through college as stagehands and have excellent professions. The 2 youngest stayed in the business, their specialty is high steel riggers..

In addition to working with my 5 sons, I also worked with a daughter-in-law, 4 nephews, and a young cousin. Like they say, nepotism is alright as long as you keep it in the family.   

AH ONE

A GIRL CALLED BUBBLES

bubbles

The Old Hand of Oakdale:

It was our Freshman year in college and we had a semester break so Tom and Al and myself decided to get in my car and drive to Chicago to see the Blackhawks play. We stopped in Milwaukee first because there were two girls that Tom and Al had dated in high school attending Marquette University. We caught up with them and several of their classmates at the Student Union.

It was nice catching up and talking over old times with the two girls, as well as meeting their friends, but I had to excuse myself and go to the hotel. My football-knee was acting up after the long drive and I wanted to get back to the hotel and soak it in a tub of hot water.

When Tom and Al came in the room later they informed me the three of us were going to a movie that night. And Bubbles had claimed me as her date.

‘Whoa! Thanks but no thanks,’ I told them. ‘First, I don’t go on blind dates, especially with gals that have silly nicknames like Bubbles…’

‘She’s good looking,’ Al said, ‘And the girls say she is a lot of fun.’

‘I remember who she is. You can’t forget somebody called Bubbles, can you? But forget it. I see the Brubeck Trio are playing at a jazz club down by the lake. No way am I going to blow off chance to see them in person.’

Both Tom and Al argued, using every reason they could think of to make me change my mind. And the more they argued, the more stubborn I got.

Finally I just said, ‘Case closed! I am not going to a movie with a blind date especially one with a silly nickname! I’m going to see Brubeck.’

(A few years later, I broke those two rules and went out on a blind date with a girl nicknamed Georgie. In a couple months Georgie and I will be celebrating our 56th wedding anniversary.)

Driving to Chicago the next morning things was pretty quiet at first. Tom was dozing in the front seat and Al was laid across the back seat. Finally Al sat up and asked me how I enjoyed Brubeck. I told him it was great. Then I asked him about the movie.

‘We should have gone with you, a real tear jerker,’ Tom chimed in. ‘Two of the girls liked it.’

‘Bubbles sure wasn’t very bubbly,’ Al said. ‘I don’t think she’s every been stood up before.’

‘Hey!’ I argued, ‘I never asked her out to begin with, so how could I have stood her up?’

‘Yeah, you got a point’ Tom said. ‘We said you had another commitment that you couldn’t break. And, we sure never told her you didn’t go out with her because her friends called her Bubbles. Wouldn’t want her to think you’re a dink.’

Al leaned over the back seat. ‘Know why they call her Bubbles, dink? Oh, I mean Don.’

‘Bubbling personality?’

‘Well, not last night,’ Al said, and he slapped me on the shoulder. ‘You blew it, man! They call her Bubbles because she’s Lawrence Welk’s daughter.’ He laughed and started singing, ‘Roll out the barrel, and we’ll have a barrel of fun.’

Tom joined in and pretty soon all three of us were singing The Beer Barrel Polka, followed by In Heaven There Is No Beer.’

Published Bulletin Board – 2/22/17

WUNNERFUL! WUNNERFUL!

Stay tuned. The next post will be AH TWO. It will be about the time I worked Bubble’s father and the man who married her.

 

UNCLE ELMER’S GOAT

billy-goat

The Old Hand: Another Back In the Day

 

Most Christmas gag gifts are forgotten by New Year’s. Some however last a lot longer. My great-uncle Elmer and his old friend, Gene, kept one going for years.

A couple acquaintances of Elmer wanted to give their children a pet and they settled upon a cute little billy goat kid. The problem was the kid outgrew his cuteness very quickly. He became a real problem for the parents and the children who wouldn’t even go outside unless the goat was tied up.

Since nobody answered their ad offering a free goat, they did the only thing they could think of to get rid of the animal; they took it out to Elmer’s farm and gave it to him, knowing well he was too nice to refuse it.

I image that the goat had been given a name by it’s former owners, but uncle Elmer named it Goat. He never was too imaginative about his names. He had a border collie that was the best cattle dog I ever saw. Elmer called the dog, Dog. He had several horses with the same name, Horse. He had about twenty cows with the name Cow, except for the one he called Bull.

His first child was a boy and was given a normal name, which not too many people remembered over the years. Elmer nicknamed his son, Boy, the first time he saw him, and the name stuck all the rest of Boy’s life. As their family grew, Aunt Amanda, laid down the law, no more of those silly names, and the other kids grew up being called by their given names. But since Amanda never cared what he called his animals, Elmer gave them names he thought was appropriate.

Elmer got a lot of teasing about being such a softy and taking Goat. He just laughed and defending his action by saying, ‘You can’t look a gift goat in the mouth’. Although there were many times, he wished he had.

That animal was foul-smelling, obnoxious, mischievous, contrary, mean, ornery, and the list went on and on. In fact, if you look up some of the aforementioned words in the dictionary, you would probably see a picture of Elmer’s goat.

The one thing nobody ever did twice was turn their back on Goat. It was as if the critter saw the seat of a person’s pants as one big target. Ram! Bam! And after he played his little joke on the poor sap, you could swear there was a smile on Goat’s face.

Of course, Goat never tried anything with Elmer, one big reason was Dog. Not only was Dog a great cattle herder, he was also a darn good goat trainer. Dog could actually make Goat behave. But, if by chance some poor unsuspecting man turned his back on Goat, Dog was known to look the other way. Dog would never allow Goat to accost a woman or a child though, and Goat never tried to after Dog nipped him a few times for even thinking about it.

Gene, one of Elmer’s best friends had a farm a couple miles down the road from Elmer’s. The two had a lot in common, especially teasing and playing practical jokes on each other.

I  loved  Elmer telling the story about Gene hearing drinking goat’s milk was good for arthritis. When Gene found out that Elmer had just been given a goal and  he offered to buy Goat from Elmer. Elmer had that goat sold until some loud-mouth told Gene that Goat was a billy, not a nanny. ‘Yup,’ Elmer would laugh, ‘I’d a paid money to see the first time Gene paid to milk it.’

After almost getting taken by Elmer on the sale of the goat, Gene teased Elmer about his goat every chance he got. ‘Hey, if you want to get Elmer’s goat, just ask him about his Goat.’  Or when Elmer would stop in at the VFW for a euchre game, and Gene was there already, Gene would holler, ‘Hurry up and close the door. Must be a goat outside. I sure can smell it.’

It was the second Christmas of Elmer having the goat that Gene came home from Midnight Mass and saw lights on in the barn and his pack of dogs barking up a storm at the barn door. When he opened the door there was Goat in the box stall with the team of horses. Goat was helping himself to the hay and the two horses were standing as far away from the intruder as possible.

Around Goat’s neck was a large red ribbon and bow. It didn’t take much to figure out who the Santa was that left the present. Thinking back, Gene should have figured something was up when he didn’t see Elmer at Midnight Mass.

Like Elmer, Gene never looked a gift goat in the mouth and accepted it with a laugh. The only thing was Gene never called the goat, Goat. He renamed it Elmer. If Elmer the goat had any ideas that life would be easier without Dog around, he was wrong. While Gene didn’t have a dog like Dog, actually nobody did, Gene had a pack of dogs that managed to keep the goat in line.

And then come the next Christmas and there was no Gene at Midnight Mass, Elmer wasn’t at all surprise to open the barn door and see Goat, nee Elmer, standing there with the big red ribbon and bow around it’s neck. Dog jumped around and actually licked Goat’s face. Elmer laughed and commented later that at least Dog was happy to have Goat back.

This ritual went on and on. Whoever it was that was going to get the goat made sure he went to Midnight Mass to make it easier on the giver. The red ribbon and bow was an important part of the gift so it was always kept in a safe place. They couldn’t trust it just hanging in the barn for fear the goat might eat it.

The goat, Goat or Elmer depending on which farm he was spending the year, matured thanks to age and to Dog and Gene’s pack as trainers. It got so was actually a pet. The two men found a pony harness and cart at an auction and broke the goat to be hitched up and pull it. Whenever kids would come to the farm where the goat was, it was drive-the-goat cart time. The goat and the cart and the kids were also big attractions in the parades at the various fairs and get-togethers during the summers and falls. And although the red ribbon and bow was also an important part of the goat’s wardrobe, the only time he wore it was Christmas Eve.

It was in the summer of a year when Elmer the Goat was living at Gene’s farm that Gene had the fatal heart attack while milking the cows. The day after the funeral Elmer told Gene’s widow what he intended to do and she thought it a good idea. Later that day Elmer came and took the goat, the harness, the cart, and the red ribbon and bow back to his farm – for good.

Every Christmas Eve, Elmer put the red ribbon and bow around the goat’s neck before Midnight Mass and took it off right after. If the goat missed Gene and Gene’s pack of dogs, he never showed it. He seemed content to live at just the one farm and didn’t seem to mind that no one ever called him Goat or Elmer anymore. From the time he came at Elmer’s to stay for good he went by the name, Gene.

Published BB 2/13/17

TALE FROM AN OUTHOUSE

Back in The Day

outhouse

 

The Old Hand  writes (having changed the names in this story, to protect both the innocent and the guilty) :

“Miss Fisk had a small 3.2 bar just outside the town limits — clean, quiet, befitting the gray-haired, innocent looking old lady. She lived in the far end of the building: a small kitchen/office, and her bedroom.

“She treated the barroom itself as her living room. Wipe your feet on the mat before entering. A small oak bar, 10 stools, three booths, and six tables. There was the front door, and a door leading to her living quarters, and a door with a restroom sign above it.

“But once you went through that door with the restroom sign, you were outside in the parking lot and about a hundred feet from a gray, wooden, two-holed outhouse. There weren’t too many bars left that didn’t have inside facilities, but Miss Fisk did not like the idea of cleaning an inside restroom.

“Her clientele was carefully picked. She allowed no rowdies, no drunks, no one she suspected of spending money on liquor when his family was going hungry, no unescorted females; there was no swearing, no Bible thumping, and no children. And once she banned you, you were banned for life.

“Since there was never many customers in her place, you had to wonder how she made ends meet — but she had her ways. For instance, there were the poker games, big stakes, that started every Saturday afternoon. The house took a draw out of each pot. And when the chaff got separated from the wheat, this sweet old lady sat in and showed the boys how to play poker.

“Then there was the Minnesota liquor law. Only liquor stores could sell whiskey by the bottle, and liquor stores closed at 8 p.m. six nights and never opened on Sunday. That left a lot of hours for thirsty people who wanted to buy more whiskey.

“Now, a 3.2 bar couldn’t sell even a glass of strong beer, let alone a shot of whiskey, and heaven forbid a bottle of whiskey — but Miss Fisk saw a need and filled it. She pushed more illegally sold bottles out the back door during the off-hours than the Judge’s liquor store in town ever hoped to sell legally. And for a bigger profit, tax-free.

Gros Jean, the township marshal, knew of all this, but he would never do anything about her sidelines, because he figured, like everyone, that she was filling some valuable needs for the community. Plus, he had been unopposed in his running for office for almost two decades, and he liked his job. It supplied him with a good living and a new car every few years.

“It was the last new car that got Bantam Denis the idea that maybe there was more to the job than just the salary, so Banty decided to run against Gros Jean. A week or so before the election, he stopped into Miss Fisk’s bar, and even though he had been banned several years before, he ordered a beer. He was refused. So he went and dumped everybody’s glass of beer on the floor as he ranted as to how, when he was elected, he would stop the Saturday poker games and stop her back-door peddling of whiskey, maybe even take away her 3.2 license. Unless! He went and whispered something in her ear.

“In spite of the fact that the kickback he wanted from her was less than what she was paying Gros Jean, she held the door open while several customers threw Banty out.

“Banty held off a few nights before getting his revenge. He waited in the dark until Miss Fisk and Jen, girlfriend of Earl the bartender, went to the outhouse. Once they were inside, he took the board into which he had started four nails, and, placing it crosswise, he hammered it to the door frame, making it impossible to push the door open.

“The two women screamed and tried to get out. He jumped into his pickup and started bumping the outhouse — not enough to tip it over, just enough to scare the . . . etc. Then he drove out quickly. Nobody inside the bar heard the commotion, and it wasn’t until almost a hour later, when someone walked out to use the outhouse, that their predicament was discovered.

“Naturally, everyone knew who had pulled the trick — but as Gros Jean pointed out, there was no evidence . . . and maybe not even a law against nailing an outhouse door closed.

“But come the election results, Miss Fisk had her faith in mankind restored. Twice the usual number of people had voted, and Banty ended up with just two votes. No, it wasn’t his mother who cast the other vote for him. She had made it clear before the election that she wouldn’t vote for her son even if he were the only one running. The second vote was cast by an angry wife of one of the habitual losers in the Saturday poker games.

“And the very next day after getting locked in the outhouse, Miss Fisk used some of her ill-gotten gains to have an addition built on her building: a unisex restroom with all the modern conveniences. Of course, though, the old gray outhouse out back was left standing, because there were some habits her regular customers just couldn’t break.

“The only change in the outhouse was that somebody had found the board Banty had used and painted the words ‘BANTY’S JAILHOUSE’ on it and nailed it over the door.

“The bar and outhouse stood for several more years, until the Highway Department bought it for a highway expansion and knocked it down.

“Miss Fisk started another bar high on a hill which overlooked where the old bar had been, but it just wasn’t the same. For one thing, the building code decreed it had to have both a Men’s Room and a Ladies’ Room inside the building, requiring a lot of cleaning never needed when all she had was the old outhouse.

Published Bulletin Board & Onward       1/14/17

MEMORIES FORGOTTEN AND REMEMEBERED

dick-van-dyke-show

 

 

 

            There comes a time when it is easier to remember what happened years ago than to remember where in the heck you just set down your glasses or your car keys, or you call your grandchildren by the wrong name.

            Joey B. was at that age years before he should have been; but then, his memory failed him even the middle of a story,especially where names were concerned. When he couldn’t think of a name, he would start scratching the top of his head ala Stan Laurel. I found out just recently that Joey B and his memory was responsible for me thinking that Dick Van Dyke was kind of standoffish.

            Van Dyke was playing the lead in a touring company of THE MUSIC MAN. He got to the theater early for the first sound check and went downstairs to the stagehands’ room to introduce himself the hands. I was busy on stage so I wasn’t in the room at the time.

             Dick introduced himself and wanted to learn the names of the hands. As was his custom, Joey B. broke in and started his own conversation with Van Dyke.

            ‘Hey, I remember you. You had that show on TV. The one with that funny guy and that funny woman — always cracking jokes. And you had a wife that was pretty funny too. Can’t think of the name of that show though.’ He began to scratch the top of his head.

            Van Dyke tried to help him out. ‘It was called THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW.’

            ‘NO! NO! Joey B. said in his best gruff voice. ‘That ain’t it.’ Now really stumped, he took off his glasses with his right hand and rubbed his eye. ‘I’ll remember it. I’ll remember.’

            At which point, Van Dyke threw up his arms, turned around and went back upstairs. Naturally, the hands that were present burst out laughing. Dick spent a lot of time in his dressing room during the run and seemed to avoid the stagehands. I can’t blame him after hearing the story of his meeting with Joey B. and his memory, and all these years I thought he was stuck up.  

 

Recently, the Bulletin Board had a lot of stories about people trying to think of the first thing they remembered. Here’s my story.       

How far back?

The Old Hand of Oakdale: “I guess my earliest memory was that of a corpse and a casket. In my mind, I still have a vivid picture of trying to reach up to grab the edge of the casket so I could pull myself into it. What led up to it and what occurred after was told to me by my mother years later.

“I was about 2, the only grandchild at the time — old enough to walk and talk, young enough so I couldn’t understand the concept of death. My favorite uncle, Gilbert, and the youngest in my mother’s family, was just 16 when he died of Sleeping Sickness.

“It was back in the day when wakes were often held in the home of the deceased. Gilbert was laid out in an open casket in his parents’ living room for three days and nights: three days of people paying their respects, bringing food and beverages, sitting around playing cards and talking to old friends and relatives, which on my mother’s side pretty much consisted of everyone in Mendota — both the village and the township and some of Eagan Town. The wake ended each night when the parish priest led the rosary. The visitors left, but most came back the next day.

“Mom and I stayed at her folks’ house during that time. I slept in a bed with my mother. Dad was coming in for the funeral from Lake Michigan, where he was working on the ice pack. On the first night, I managed to sneak out of the bed and go downstairs to where Uncle Gibby was ‘sleeping.’ Luckily, my mother noticed that I wasn’t in the bed and found me before I caused any trouble or somehow managed to achieve my goal.

“In spite of my mother trying to speak quietly and explain why I had to sleep with her and not Uncle Gibby, I did manage to wake everybody up with my loud screams demanding to sleep with Uncle Gibby.

“My earliest memory.”

Published in Bulletin Board  11/4/16

And that’s a wrap for today.

Oh, just found my glasses. They were on top of my head. Should have looked there first.

 

TV IN BLACK AND WHITE

Alex Johnson Hotel

     Alex Johnson Hotel 

            When we left the Guthrie after rehearsals and a week’s run, the next stop on the Leonard Nimoy’s VINCENT tour was Rapid City, South Dakota. Dennis Babcock, the production manager of the tour, had us booked in the historic Hotel Alex Johnson, a beautiful structure in downtown Rapid City.

Alfred Hitchcock had fallen in love with the hotel while filming NORTH BY NORTHWEST and used various locations in it whenever possible. He and some of the cast stars, including Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, also stayed there during the location filming in South Dakota.

Leonard Nimoy’s  VINCENT was the opener for the theater section of the new city entertainment complex. A rodeo had officially opened the arena section the previous week, and had left a lingering odor throughout the complex. Cowboys were a dime a dozen in Rapid City but a real Hollywood star like Leonard was something special. Both the city officials and the hotel management rolled out the red carpet for us. It was perfect, except…

Erik, Leonard’s personal dresser, did not like the idea of having to watch black and white TV, the only kind they had in the hotel. He demanded to talk to the hotel manager. When Dennis and I got back from the setup at the theater, and Leonard and Mrs. Nimoy returned from a media conference, we all had supper in the hotel dining room. Erik informed us that we all had brand new colored TV’s in our rooms.

He told how he explained to the manager that our eyes were accustomed to color TV and watching black and white TV could cause us to have migraines. He went with the manager to two different stores to get just the perfect color TV’s and saw to it that a tech from one of the stores installed and fined tuned the TV’s. Erik was very proud of what he accomplished with his snow job, and when he brought it up again at the airport, none of the other four of us mentioned that we never turned on the TV’s in our rooms.

 

Perry Mason

The Old Hand:

I enjoy watching the black and white reruns of PERRY MASON starring Raymond Burr, now as much as I enjoyed them when they weren’t reruns. And they have closed captioning, something I didn’t need back in the day but sure do now. In some of the episodes though, the cc tech is somewhat of a censor, a very prudish censor, using the x key whenever the tech deemed it is necessary.

            A good example was an episode the other night where the murdered victim’s name was Dick and there was a lot of cocktail drinking. Every time the name ‘Dick’ had to appear on the screen, the censor changed it to xxxx. Every time the word ‘cocktail’ had to appear it was changed to xxxxtail. Pussycat was xxxxycat. Once you realize what is happening, you find yourself watching for other censorship changes instead of trying to figure out who the guilty party is. The tech would have a nervous breakdown if he or she was hired to work on today’s TV shows.

            On of the best things about the series is the relationship between Perry and his secretary, Della Street. It didn’t start out that way in the novels. In the first, The Case of the Velvet Claws, the only one I ever read, Mason is a real sexist pig. He treats Della like she was something he scrapes off his shoes before entering a house.

            SPOILER ALERT: Never hire Perry as a legal consultant because you will end up as the prime suspect in the murder that is sure to follow. The same rule applies to inviting J.B. Fletcher over for dinner, or allowing Dr. Sloan to give you medical attention. And, in watching any of these series, it is best if the viewer has been a member of AARP – for a number of years.

Published St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bulletin Board, 5/13/16

 

Sheen's angel' work

One show I never appreciated at the time, mainly because Mom insisted we watch it, was Life is Worth Living, starring Bishop Fulton J. Sheen and his invisible ‘guardian angel’. Basically it was a half hour sermon in prime time.

Bishop Sheen loved to disguise the sermon with humor, and he was good at it. He had a shtick where he would outline a point he was talking about on a large chalk board. Point made, he would  walk downstage so the chalk board was out of camera. When he would come back to the board, it would be clean. He would always thank his angel for the erasure job, and would kid about how his guardian angel not only protects him, it also cleans up after him.

The show was stuck in a graveyard slot, Tuesday night, opposite the “king of television”, Milton Berle, Uncle Milty, who was so popular his network had signed for a 30 year contract. The Mutual Network thought it would be a cheap, (the Bishop worked for nothing), throwaway against the ratings giant. No way would it have the legs to compete against Berle. Wrong!

It rose steadily in the ratings and took a large audience away from Berle. Berle often laughed off the Bishop’s rise by saying they both had the same sponsor, Sky Chief, (Berle was sponsored by Texaco Sky Chief gasoline), and they both used old jokes. Sheen responded that people were calling him, Uncle Fulty. Berle didn’t laugh though when Texaco dropped him and Buick picked him, at a reduced price.

He never regained his title of king of TV and the network was stuck with a long contract. And, sad to say, Bishop Sheen introduced a genre to America, televangelism. The huge difference though is Sheen worked for free, and today’s televangelists work for as much as they can get their followers to send in.

As I started out by saying, I didn’t really appreciate the show until it was off the air and I was working in show business. Then I looked upon it fondly because  Bishop Sheen was the only person I ever heard refer to a stagehand as an angel.

black and white tv

 

 

 

ONLY IN IRISH AMERICA

American-Shamrock-MI

Before the term March Madness was used to describe bouncing basketballs and broken brackets, or even before it was used to describe collegiate binge drinking on Florida beaches, it was used to describe St. Patrick’s Day, a welcome break from Lent.

Lent was SERIOUS! Fasting! Abstaining! Praying the family rosary before supper, which was more often a tuna salad or sardines and crackers than a hamburger or hot dog. No candy for kids during Lent. No liquor for adults during Lent. Sunday wasn’t really considered Lent; but in some of the more conservative homes, it was.

And yet, on March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, Lent was set aside in almost all households, Irish or not. This is true in America but not in Ireland, where the day is more of a holy day than a holiday. Just as Christmas seems to help survive the cruel winter, the St. Patrick’s holiday seemed to relieve the ashes and sackcloth mentality of Lent.

Our town was mostly French-Indian descendents of fur trappers and voyagers that came down from French Canada. Growing up, I can remember only two ‘Irishmen’, both of whom married into our tight knit locale. And yet, the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was honored by all and even sanctioned by the priests of the church on the hill.

Most holidays celebrating a person are held on the day of the person’s birth. The day to honor St. Patrick is held on the day of his death. Even if his birthday was known for sure, the day of his death helped with getting through the Lenten period. Most holidays celebrating a person honor a native son, not a natural enemy. Patrick has about as much Irish in him as I do. He was an Englishman, brought to Ireland as a slave. He escaped and went back to England, where he became a priest. And then he returned to convert his captors.

It seemed like the stricter Lent was observed, the wilder St. Patrick’s Day was celebrated. But that was in the past. The strictness that once was Lent has all but disappeared, and the celebration that calls for green beer, and buttons that proclaim, ‘Kiss me. I’m Irish’, grows bigger and bawdier every year.

I have never really caught the ‘Irish Fever’; but don’t tell my father-in-law, John O’Boyle that. In his mind, my last name, Ostertag, is spelled O’Stertag. He is a true Irish-American.

For instance, while Ireland remained ‘neutral’ during WWII, not so with Irish America. John, for instance, ran away from home just after high school. He joined the Merchant Marine. His ship was torpedoed just off the coast of Argentina. John was rescued and he returned home just before Pearl Harbor. He enlisted in the Army, fought in Europe, was at the Liberation of Paris, and was wounded severely just as his outfit was about to march into the Battle of the Bulge. A true Irish American.

 

The Old Hand:

John, my 94 year old father-in-law, has marched in yet another Bemidji’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. As one of the original instigators of the parade, he has marched in almost every one since its inception.

While other cities argue over who has the most participants, the most spectators, the most celebrants that have at least some Irish in their background, Bemidji has the uncontested claim to having the shortest route of any of the parades.

It starts off in one of the two Irish pubs in the city. The marchers congregate during the late morning, and, then at a predetermined time, or maybe a little after, someone starts to sing DANNY BOY.  They all join in singing, stand up, and parade across the street to the other pub.

Rain or shine, snow or sleet, a good time is had by all, young or old.

Erin go braugh!

Published Bulletin Board, St. Paul Dispatch 3/18/16

 

And then there is the song DANNY BOY, the anthem of Irish Americans and Canadians. The melody has Irish roots, but the lyrics were written by an Englishman!

 

Again with my Irish-American father-in-law:

The Old Hand:

John’s second wife was a beautiful, world-traveled lady, imported from Sweden. When she died the service was held in a Bemidji, in a Lutheran church with a large congregation of people of Swedish descent.

My father-in-law left most of the music up to the minister, but requested one song to be sung. True to his Irish heritage, he requested Danny Boy.

The resident singer was a somber older gentleman with a nice voice. He sang all the hymns without resorting to a hymnal – but when it came time for Danny Boy, both he and the organist brought out the sheet music. He handled it nicely, singing it straight forward without any attempt to imitate an Irish tenor. But, by his deep frown and his body language, the singer left no doubt he thought this song to be highly inappropriate to be sung in this church for the service of a nice Swedish Lutheran Lady.

And he did make one small change in the lyrics that say: and kneel and say an Ave there for me. Instead he sang: and kneel and say a prayer there for me. I can just imagine him putting his foot down on any singing about Aves in his church.

Irish! Humph!

Published Bulletin Board, St Paul Dispatch  5/2/13

 

The dichotomy of the Irish in the New World reminds me of an old story:

Robert Driscoll was the first Jewish Lord Mayor of Dublin. When he came to the U.S. to visit, there was a ticker tape parade for him in New York City.

Among the spectators were two elderly Irish women. One turned to the other and said, ‘Can you imagine! He’s Lord Mayor of London and he’s Jewish!’

The second shook her head and said, ‘Lord Mayor of London, and he’s Jewish! Only in America. Only in America.’

POQUITO SOL

poquito sol

 

 

Lately the news, the local news, (Hate), the national news, (Hate), the international news, (Hate), has been so depressing. 

I needed something to cheer me up.

            Even the weather has been so depressing. Rain and more rain. It finally snowed last week and melted a few days later. Usually I look to nature for solace and even that is depressing.

The grass is still green; but the trees, which, not too long ago, were brilliant with the leaves of many colors, are naked.

I can see the pond easier now that the leaves aren’t blocking the view, but there is no ducks to be seen. Like so many of the old retirees in Minnesota, they have gone south. There’s still two Canadian geese that walk through the field, still getting fat on the grass. They look lonesome out there.

The fawn deer that were so cute a few months ago have lost their spots and now are  just smaller members of the herd. I watch them eating the green grass and feel sorry; because in spite of no real winter yet, that grass will be covered with snow and food will be hard for them to find. They are in for a sad surprise.

The other day I saw a young buck deer, a four pointer, laying back by the shed. He looked to be sleeping even though it was almost noon. Every once in a while he would lift his head and sniff the air. Finally he tried to get up. He had a hard time. He began to walk with great difficulty. He was favoring his left hind hip. I felt for him, knowing first hand how walking can be very painful. I surmised that he had been feeling his oats and decided to take a doe out of the herd; but the head buck objected and taught the youngster a lesson. He managed to disappear into the woods, an outcast from the herd; yet safer than if he had been further north, up in wolves country.

I needed something to cheer me up.

 

I looked at the entries in my blog the past year. So many concerned themselves with old friends and acquaintances who passed away. But when you are my age, you are bound to have many memories of people now deceased. I  just never intended that it should turn into an obituary blog. After all, I subtitled it ‘Laughter In The Wings’.

Oh, yes, I needed something to cheer me up.

 

So I dug in my Documents and found a few incidents that I found funny at the time and am happy to say I think they have stood the test of time. Maybe you will too.

They have a common string, Mexico, a beautiful land of beautiful people, in spite of what Trump and his Brown Shirted Haters would have you believe.

 

From: The Old Hand

My old friend, Joey B. liked photos, liked posing for them, liked taking them. Although he was better at the former than the later.

I remember how excited he was once when he returned from a trip to Mexico. He came on stage with a camera hanging around his neck. “Bought this just before we went on the trip,” he said. “I can’t wait to see the finished pictures. I dropped twelve rolls of film off at the drug store and they told me I could pick them up after work.

“Guys, I got some snapshots there that will knock your socks off!”

He handed off his new camera to show around. Tom, who knew something about photography, took off the lens cap.

What the hell is that?” Joe exclaimed!

Joe never bothered to go back to pick up the “developed” pictures. I guess he figured once you have seen the inside of a lens cap, you don’t need twelve rolls of film to remind you what it looked like.

Published St. Paul Dispatch

Joey B liked Mexico. He spent a lot of the Guthrie off season down in Ensenada fishing. After he retired, he lived down there almost all year long for several years, fishing and he was happy. His long suffering wife stayed in Minneapolis and continued to work as a dresser at the Guthrie, and she was happy. 

 

From: The Old Hand 

            My wife, Gina, and I were sitting in an outdoor café in Oaxaca, Mexico. Naturally, there were a number of cute little kids selling hand crafts like necklaces and scarves, and the local delicacy, roasted ants. One lad, though, had nothing to sell. He just wanted money.

Gina, a Mexican by birth, chided him for asking for money. She pointed out that the other children were industrious, selling things, and he should be ashamed for being just a beggar. He wasn’t.

Senora,” he said, “You give me money. I will go and buy something. And then I will come back and sell it to you. Si?”

Made sense to me, but my wife continued her lecture on how he should try and be more than just a beggar. She stressed that once a beggar, always a beggar. Work hard. Get ahead. “And,” she added, “Who knows? Someday you could become presidente of Mexico.”

Presidente of Mexico!” The lad shouted, “I’d rather be a beggar.”

Published St Paul Dispatch

 

If it wasn’t for the family, we’re lucky our boys and their families all live close by, my wife and would become snow birds. Only instead of wintering in Florida or Arizona like so many Minnesotans, we would head for Mexico. The two coasts are nice; but I would opt for the Colonial Cities, San Miguel and the others. So picturesque and leisurely, and not too far from Mexico City, another of my favorite cities.

 

 

From: The Old Hand

It was during the time when the TV news was filled with the war in Viet Nam. One Friday evening we took the five boys to a double feature drive-in movie. By the start of the second feature they were asleep, or so we thought. The second feature was a Clint Eastwood ‘comedy’ set in WWII, KELLY’S HEROES.

As I was setting the speaker back on its stand, preparing to drive out, Derrick, our third son, five or six at the time, leaned over the front seat and said, ‘Dad, when I get big,’ he said, ‘I am not going to go to Viet Nam. Remember those mountains by Mexico City? I am going to go to those mountains and live there. I don’t want people to shoot at me, and I don’t think anybody wants me to shoot at them.’

Not published. Just kept in my heart.

 

 

The Bible: YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF’

 

The Koran:…FOR ALLAH LOVES THOSE WHO ARE KIND

 

Mein Kampf: Power lies in stirring up Hatred and telling the Big Lie.

 

The Millers: Let There Be Peace On Earth   And Let It Begin With Me

 

 

 

 

MONARCH HIGHWAY

Monaarch and Milkweed

Oh, watching the flight of a Monarch butterfly, flittering from flower to flower, is such joy; but it a joy that could disappear if we don’t do anything to help the butterflies out. Like honeybees, they are natural pollinators, and like honeybees are being killed off. If this trend, both in butterflies and in honeybees, not only will we lose some of the beauty that is in nature, we will lose the natural way of growing our food.

There has been a decline of 90% of the Monarchs in the last two decades. Some of the reason being the frosts in Mexico where they winter; but more so genetic grown crops, herbicides such as Roundup that is wiping out plants like milkweed, the loss of prairie and wetlands. In short, We are killing them off by starvation and outright poison.

The government has offered a plan to help reverse the decline in Monarchs and indirectly help out the honeybees, plant prairie flowers, such as milkweed, along the I-35 Highway corridor, 1,500 miles from Minnesota to Texas, the route taken by Monarchs migrating to the winter home in Mexico. It will not only be a needed food source in their flight, it will provide shelter also.

Oh, not to mention a restoration of some of the prairie beauty the pioneers experienced in their migration across our country. And the price will be but a drop in the bucket to conjuring up yet another weapon of destruction.

 

The following is an article I wrote a few years back .

Published: St. Paul Pioneer Press – 1/4/20/11

The Old Hand:

Our oldest grandchild, Erik, has worked summers at Como Park Zoo, first as a volunteer, then as an intern. The past summer Erik led tours of the butterfly exhibit. One day, he and I got to talking about the monarch butterflies’ migration and the freeze in the Mariposa Reserve in Mexico killed off a large number of the butterflies. I pointed out the various places around my land where I had patches of milkweed plants for the Monarchs. 

One of Erik’s college professors wanted his students to write an essay on something they could do to improve our world. For the most part, the students wrote of great pie-in-the-sky projects like stopping war, doing away with hunger, etc.. Erik’s project wasn’t so grandiose. He suggested that the college plant patches of milkweed on campus to help propagate monarch butterflies. The professor liked both the project and the fact that it was something that could be accomplished. He encouraged Erik to get the project underway. The school officials liked the idea and encouraged Erik to work out the details. 

When Erik called me with the good news, he asked if I had any ideas where to get milkweed seeds or seedlings. I suggested a greenhouse or a seed company that specialized in plants for prairie restoration. We discussed the concept of restoring the original prairie that were native to Minnesota, plants and flowers that have been replaced by the grasses in lawns, pastures, golf courses, all alien grasses that need an enormous amount of water to survive in Minnesota. 

Today Erik called me to tell me the good news. The school is buying milkweed seeds along with other seeds of prairie plants in the prairie garden they are going to plant in the spring. Erik might never change the world but he will make it a better place to live if he has his way. 

It’s so great to be a grandparent. The pride my wife and I take in our five children is increased as we watch how our children raise their children.

 

Today, Erik has his degree in Marine Biology and is currently working with manta rays and sharks. Here’s an earlier post of mine concerning Erik, which you might enjoy: BEHIND THE GLASS

AN ILL WIND AND MR. SNAKEY

The Old Hand:   wind-cloud

AN ILL WIND

 

I was just standing, making small talk, while the parking valet was filling out the parking ticket. I commented on the wind that had been blowing without letup for several days. ‘When you figure it will stop?’ I asked rhetorically?

‘How am I suppose to know?’ the valet answered curtly, as he handed me the stub. I guess he wasn’t interested in talking about the weather, or sucking up for a tip either. Then, just as I was putting the stub in my shirt pocket, I felt the wind rip my cap off my head. With my free hand, I snapped at it, and darn if I didn’t grab it before it headed for parts unknown. ‘Gotcha!’ Surprised myself.

But I surprised the valet more. In grabbing the cap I didn’t stop in time and I hit the poor guy flush on the nose.

‘I’m sorry. I’m sorry. The wind and my cap….’ I must have repeated my apology five, six times.

He had taken several steps away from me and had bent over at the waist, pulling out a handkerchief, and pressed it against his nose. I didn’t see any blood as I took a few steps toward him.

‘No! No!’ He quickly backed away from me again. ‘I’m okay. I’m okay,’ he repeated maybe five, six times.

‘I sure didn’t mean the gotcha…’

‘Hey,’ he shouted! ‘I said I’m okay.’ He turned his back to me and did kind of a chicken dance. Scuffling his feet and bobbing his head up and down. All the while, making strange little noises.

‘Look,’ I volunteered, ‘I’ll go get a wet towel…’

‘I said I’m okay! Just leave me alone! Leave me alone!’

Hey, I can take a hint, I thought to  myself as I turned and walked away. Some people! Just can’t appreciate it when you are trying to be nice to them.  

I walked into the casino and out of the wind without so much as looking back.

Published St. Paul PP, Bulletin Board  5/19/15

 

The Old Hand:

MR. SNAKEY 

Our daughter-in-law wrote down this conversation between the little girls and their dad:

Dirk told the two big girls about Jaycee (the youngest) running in the house screaming because she saw a snake in the yard today.

Jayda(the oldest): If I saw a snake, I’d run, scream, then tell mom and dad!

Jena (Lil’ Miss in the middle): If I saw one, I’d say, “Go away, Mr. Snakey, come back later when I’m mad at Jayda.”

Published St. Paul PP, Bulletin Board  5/2/15

 

 

 

GEORGE HAD A MONKEY

evil monkey

 

 

The Old Hand :

George, a neighbor down the road, had himself a monkey. Or maybe it was the other way around. This monkey was just too mean and ornery to ever be called a pet. It tolerated George. It disliked all other creatures that walked on two legs. And it positively hated all four legged animals, especially dogs.

In nice weather, George would stake the monkey outside on a twenty foot chain. It wore out the grass in a circle around the stake; except not a twenty foot radius, only fifteen feet. That extra five feet of chain was the monkey’s gotcha for dogs.

A unsuspecting dog would come to just outside the worn grass and bark and  tease the monkey, thinking it was safe, not realizing the chain was five feet longer than the monkey’s circle. The monkey would run at the dog, and much to the dog’s surprise, would not stop at the edge of the grass. Instead it used up the extra chain to leap on the dog’s back, bite, scratch, draw blood, until the poor dog could manage to escape the foul-smelling demon.

One Easter Sunday, George returned from Mass to the sight of the fire department wetting down the ashes of his trailer home and the monkey. He stood by his truck and lit a cigarette with a match. He had misplaced his Zippo lighter earlier in the day. One of the firemen said a Zippo was found by the monkey’s open-doored cage.

George bought himself a replacement Zippo, but never bothered to buy himself a replacement monkey.

Published St. Paul Pioneer Press, Bulletin Board       3/20/15

 

 

 

 

CONFESSIONS

Confessional cartoon   Recently the St. Paul paper’s Bulletin Board has had quite a few humorous memories of people going to confession in their youth. I sent in a few of mine. If you grew up Catholic, they might trigger some funny memories of your own. If you are not Catholic, they will give you a peek into that mysterious booth in Catholic churches – the CONFESSIONAL.

 

The Old Hand : “At St. Francis on the first Thursday of the month, the nuns marched the kids to Confession in the church. There were two permanent confessionals, one on either side of the church. But on this special day, there was a third confessional — a portable one that sat down the center aisle, right by the altar rail. The two young priests manned the permanent confessionals, but the third was the Monsignor’s domain, and the nuns picked out the ‘special projects’ to go to the Monsignor for Confession.

“Those unfortunates sat single-file in pews along the center aisle. Sat there sweating, awaiting their fate. They sat far enough back so they couldn’t hear the kid in the box talking, but they could be in the back rows and still hear the Monsignor as he roared at the penitent. And when he finally got rid of the kid, he would step out and look at the row of those waiting. He wanted to see who would be next.

“The minute he went back inside the confessional, the kids in his center row jumped up and there was a massive switching of seats.

“St. Francis was not my parish; I just went to school there. When I went to Confession in my own parish, I had problems — mainly because the priest never used the impersonal ‘my son.’ He always called me by my first name, and would talk to me after the Absolution. He would ask me things like if my grandmother was feeling any better, or remind me that I had to serve the funeral Mass on Monday. And his penances always ran to saying three decades of the Rosary. I often wondered: If I got that kind of penance, what kind would he give to those only-Easter-and-Christmas churchgoers?

“When I got my own car, I, and many of the teenagers in the city, went to confession at the Little Flower. You might have to stand in a long line, but once inside the box, it was bing-bang. No preaching. Always the same penance: three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys.

“I know for a fact that the Father never bothered to listen to what you had to say. I bet you could have told him you committed suicide twice, or told him he’d better get outside because the church was on fire, and still you would get the same reply: ‘Three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys. Now say an Act of Contrition.’ And before you finished the Act of Contrition, he had you absolved, the black talking panel was closed, and he was listening to the person on the other side of the confessional.”

Published: St. Paul Pioneer Press Bulletin Board          3/4/15

 

FIRST FANCY DANCE

prom corsage

 

The Old Hand

Seeing all the kids in their prom outfits always remind me of my first fancy dress dance, and how I had to prepare for it.

First, I needed a suit. The only suit I ever had before, was for my First Communion. Since my folks were paying for it, Mom went along. I wanted a charcoal grey suit so I could wear a pink shirt with it – the cool combo back in those days.

The clerk said they had charcoal grey pants, but no suits. He showed us several other choices of suits. None which pleased both Mom and myself. Then he suggested a sport coat instead of a suit. When he pointed out I’d get more use out of a sport coat because it would go with practically anything, Mom was all for it. After all we didn’t get much use out of my First Communion suit. I wore it once and each of my two brothers wore it once. And since the sport coat would go with practically anything, and the anything could mean a pink shirt and charcoal grey pants, so was I.

Next on my to-do list was ordering a corsage, so I went to my friend Jack, whose father was the town florist. He asked me a lot of questions that I couldn’t answer, like the color of her gown, the color of her eyes, the color of her hair. I explained it was a blind date thing. She went to an all girls school. I never met her, just talked to her once, over the phone.

‘If it would help,’ I offered, ‘Her name is Mary Margaret.’ It didn’t help.

‘Well,’ Jack said, ‘Why don’t I just make up a nice corsage that will go with practically anything.’

‘Sounds good. I’ll pick it up Saturday.’

‘Wait,’ he said, ‘How about I give you a boutonnière? On the house.’

‘A boot in the ear! How about I give you a cuff in the mouth? On the house.’

Jack laughed and laughed. He thought I was making a joke. Finally he stopped laughing and I told him I didn’t know what he was talking about. He explained that a boutonnière a small corsage a man wore in his lapel. Sounded okay to me.

‘Now just a few questions. What color ……?’

‘Whoa, whoa, Jack. Tell you what. I got a sports coat that will go with practically anything. I just bought a corsage that will go with practically anything. How about you just make up a boutonnière that will go with practically anything.’

Jack did and my date loved her corsage and my boutonnière. We had a couple of dates afterwards, but then we drifted apart. I forgot about her, but Jack never forgot about me ordering her flowers. Several years later when I was ordering the wedding corsage for my bride-to-be, Jack told me what he thought would look the best with the color of her gown, the color of her eyes, and the color of her hair. Something specific for my lovely lady, and not just something that would go with practically anything.

Then he asked me, ‘And what would you like? A boutonnière – or maybe a cuff in the mouth? On the house, of course.”

Published St. Paul Dispatch BB  5/30/14

 

While that was the end of my article in the Bulletin Board, it wasn’t the end of the story.

The evening of the dance, I got all spiffed up, had Mom pin my boutonnière on my go-with-anything sport coat and set out. Drove the mile to the Mendota Bridge, drove the almost – mile over the bridge, then over the very short Fort Snelling Bridge, turned left on the River Road for a half mile, pulled into the long driveway of the very nice house which would have had a nice view of the river if it wasn’t for the large trees on the river bluff. It was five minutes to the appointed time when I rang the doorbell. The younger brother answered the door, turned and yelled to his sister that her date was here.

‘Oops!’ I said. ‘Ah, tell your sister, I’ll be right back.’ Went back to the car, got in, backed out of the driveway, drove down River Road, crossed the two bridges, and drove into our driveway. Ran in the house and, sure enough, the box with my date’s corsage was just where I left it, on the kitchen table. Reversed the route and made it back to the big house on the River Road about a half hour after I had left.

This time her father answered the door. In reality, he was about six inches shorter than me; but standing in the doorway, staring at me, he seemed ten feet tall with a look on his face that could curdle milk. He didn’t say a word. Instead, he just let me talk my way out of the embarrassing situation that I found myself in. Finally he turned to his wife, who was standing behind him, and told her to tell Mary Margaret to finish dressing. He let me in the house and pointed to the couch.

‘I was told it was to be a double date,’ he said in a rough voice. ‘I don’t see anybody out in your car.’

I explained that we had to pick up my friend and his date next. He shook his head okay. His daughter came down the stairs. I stood up, the corsage box in my hands. While I was saying hello and offering the explanation for my weird behavior, he jerked the box from my hands. ‘Here,’ he said, handing the box to his wife. ‘You pin this on her.’ The last thing he wanted to see was a strange, very strange, boy fumbling around his daughter’s bodice. Actually, he did me a big favor. My hands were trembling so much, I might have stuck her with the pin and gotten a boot in the ear from her father.

I apologized again, walking to the car, and again as soon as I started to back out the driveway, and again as we headed out. She kept telling me not to worry about it. Those things happen. She did confess that she had set a time limit to how long she was going to wait until she undressed and wrote me off. We made small talk and laughed about it. My hands were still trembling.

We had gone several blocks when I noticed she made a small Sign of the Cross. I tried to pretend I didn’t notice it, but a little later, she made another Sign of the Cross. This time I looked at her. She smiled and continued to talk. We were just a few blocks from picking up my buddy when she made yet another Sign of the Cross.

‘Okay!’ I said, pulling the car to the curb, ‘I didn’t think I was driving bad; but if I’m scaring you, you can drive.’ I pulled the key out of the ignition and tried to hand it to her.

She had no idea what I was talking about. I told her. ‘You keep praying, making the Sign of the Cross. If you’re so scared to ride with me…..’

She smiled hesitantly, and gave a quick laugh. She explained that it was something all the girls in her school did. Every time they drove past a church, they made a small Sign of the Cross. It was just a ritual and had nothing to do with my driving.

Oops! I wondered if my sport coat that went-with-almost-anything went with my red face. The rest of the evening went off without any more disasters, unless you count a couple times I stepped on her toes while we were dancing.

Pink shirts and charcoal grey pants were definitely the uniform of the day. Some of the guys had charcoal grey suits. Some wore just a pink shirt and charcoal grey pants without a jacket or tie. Some, like me, had a sport coat to finish off the look; but unlike me, their jackets didn’t quite have a  go – with – almost – anything look. And nobody had a boutonnière to equal mine.

 

P.S. My wife, after reading the newspaper article, asked me if I remembered what kind of flowers made up her bridal corsage; and then quickly told me, they were gardenias that had to ordered special. As if I didn’t know the answer!      

             

 

SPRING YET?

Daffodil

It was a loooooooooong winter. Followed by a yoyo spring.

They have a Misery Scale based on the COLD, SNOW FALL, and LENGTH. We must have had a real miserable winter because all three of the indicators rang the bell. The TV weather people got a lot of face time talking about Wind Chill and Winter Storm Warnings; and this year they had something new to talk about, Polar Vortex.

And then Spring tried to bust through in April, but fought a losing battle against Winter. Just about the time we got comfortable with spring, winter jumped up and bit us in the behind. One day the temperature reached 60 degrees. Two days later, the new fallen snow reached almost 6 inches.

We hit the average amount of April showers up to the last week, and then it seemed like we should be building an ark. Three days of hard rain, followed by four more days of drizzle. After the first three days, the Mississippi rose three feet in St. Paul. At home, we got 5 inches of rain in those 72 hours. We’ve always had a pond on our land; but now we have ponds all over the place.

But hey, we are prepared and use to cold and snow. Nothing like that in so many of the others parts of the country. Up here a two inch snowfall is called a dusting. In Atlanta, a two inch snowfall shut down the entire city. And then the week when the rains hit us, killer storm and tornados hit other parts of the country. All in all, our problems with the weather didn’t amount to a hill of beans compared to other parts of the country.

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it:

Oft repeated words wrongly attributed to Mark Twain, but were really written by Charles Dudley Warner, editor  of the Hartford Chronicle. (A bit of pretentious trivia) While I can’t do anything about the weather, I can offer a different view of it, through the eyes of children. Here’s three such tales, two recent, one from way back.

 

The Old Hand:

I just got a lesson in horticulture handed to me by Jaycee, our 4 year old granddaughter. I looked out the window and saw that the daffodils in the field were in full bloom.

‘Come and look at all the pretty yellow daffodils, Jaycee.’ She dragged over a kitchen stool so she could see out the window. ‘Aren’t those daffodils beautiful,’ I asked?

‘Yes,’ she agreed with me, ‘But Poppa, most people call yellow flowers dandelions.’

Published – St. Paul Dispatch – BB 4/24/14

 

The Old Hand: 

I got yet another lesson in nature study from our 4 year old granddaughter, Jaycee. I watched a white heron glide over the trees and land on the far edge of the pond.

‘Jaycee, come here and look. See over there, there’s a white heron.’

She looked and looked and finally saw it. ‘That’s a goose, Grandpa.’

‘No. It’s a big white heron.’

‘It’s a goose, Grandpa! A big white goose!’

‘Okay, it’s a big white goose – named Heron.’

She let out a great sigh. ‘Grandpa,’ she said, extending her arms, palms turned upward. ‘Gooses don’t have names.’

Published – St. Paul Dispatch – BB  5/10/14 

 

The Old Hand:

This Easter that resembled Christmas reminded me of a long ago Easter at the end of a long, cold, snowy winter.  Finally, by Easter, the snow had melted, the yellow daffodils were in bloom, and the lilacs began budding. At Easter Mass, the priest gave a sermon on Resurrection, pointing out “deadness” of winter was being replaced by the “new life” of spring. Soon, the grass would be green, flowers would bloom, the farmers would be planting crops, etc..

My youngest brother, Ray, probably about three or four at the time, stood up on the pew, and began to clap and shout ‘hurray’. The priest stopped talking. People looked at Raymond. Everyone snickered, and when the priest began to clap also, the entire congregation joined in. At the end of Mass, we were told to go and enjoy the spring resurrection. And people went out of their way to ruffle Ray’s hair and smile at him.

Now, Easter has come and gone, and we still have snow on the ground and in the forecast. But never fear, soon we will soon be mowing green grass and slapping pesky mosquitoes.

Published – St Paul Dispatch – BB 3/27/00

 

 

Some times, when things wear on me, I try to look at them through the eyes of children. It usually helps.  

GOT THE TIME?

mikey mouse watch  My First Watch

Did you get a watch for Christmas? If you did, I bet it was digital. And I bet it wasn’t a pocket watch either. I remember when men had pocket watches. They placed them in the watch pockets of their pants, or the bib of their overalls. Most of them had fobs attached to them, decorative objects hanging outside the pocket allowing the users to quick draw when asked for the time. Sadly, they were replaced by wrist watches. I know that some people pay big money to wear a fancy wrist watch as jewelry; but to me, they can’t replace the eye-popping beauty of a gold plated pocket watch.

I found one once on the shoulder of the highway. Wow! I thought I had made the big time. But a man stopped at my great aunt’s and asked if she knew anybody who found the watch he lost while changing a tire. He gave a dime reward for finding it, and bawled me out for not answering his ad in the Lost and Found in the Minneapolis paper. I told him I didn’t even know Minneapolis had a paper. All we ever got in Mendota was the St. Paul paper. He could’t believe we didn’t get the Minneapolis paper, and threatened to take back the dime for sassing him. When he raised his voice, my dog growled. The man quickly got into his car.

When wrist watches were first introduced they just told time, later the day and date were added. Stem winding became self winding, finally battery operated. Now they fight to remain relevant by adding features that appeal to certain groups. You can buy one to tell you the depth of your sea dive, the altitude of your sky dive, your temperature and pulse rate. A friend of mine has one that controls the functions of his two hearing aids. It gets harder to find one that simply tells the time.

Dick Tracey Recently, I see where reality finally caught up with fiction. In 1946, Dick Tracy, the foremost cartoon policeman, had a two-way wrist radio to talk to the other policemen. In 1964, they were upgraded to wrist TVs  Now we have wrist radios, aka smart phones, worn on the wrists.

A few years ago I needed a new watch. I found the perfect one. It has a large old fashion face. with 12 LARGE numbers, two hands and a stem to set the correct time. It runs on a battery, which I like:  press the stem and it lights up, which is handy:and while it does have a small insert with the day and date, I have never bothered to fool with that function.

When I finally found my perfect watch, I paid for it, put it on and walked away. The young clerk reminded me that I did not take the instruction book. “Miss,” I said, politely, “If I thought I needed an instruction book for this watch, I would never have bought it.”

Old Hand of Oakdale:

I had gotten out of the car when a well dressed young man asked me if I could tell him the time. I told him it was ten to four. He looked puzzled. “I don’t understand,” he said politely.

My first instinct was to repeat what I said, only louder and clearer. But then I realized that this young man only knew how to tell time digitally. “It’s three fifty,” I told him. He smiled, thanked me, and went on his way.

We are constantly bombarded with new words, such as ‘phish’, or new meanings of old words, such as ‘catfish’. We even have to learn a new language, ‘texting’. And we are seeing phrases as old as time, being rendered as archaic as Shakespeare’s English. Phrases such as ‘ten to’, ‘quarter after’, ‘half passed’, are used only by those of us raised before the digital age.

As for me, I find these phrases much more pleasant to the ear than saying something like three fifty. But then, for me, some habits are hard to break. Often I find myself calling a refrigerator, an icebox.

Published SPPP, Bulletin Board 4/22/13

Darn! I wonder whatever happened to my Mickey Mouse watch. I suppose like my old baseball cards, my mother threw that old watch in the trash.

SUMMER AIR

air pressureI thought I had slow leaks in my front tires; but the mechanic explained that with the aluminum rims, changes in the weather sometimes causes tires to lose air pressure.

 

Reminded me, many years ago, when a friend of mine asked his wife to take the car in and have the oil changed to a lighter weight for winter. And, he added, have them change the summer air to winter air. When he came home from work, his wife was furious. It was bad enough that he had played a joke on her; but the mechanics kept laughing, and laughing, and laughing. I guess it wouldn’t be as funny today with the aluminum rims on cars.

 

And speaking of jokes, did you ever try to put air in your tires, using the air hoses in today’s service stations? Back in the days of privately owned stations and full service, the compressors weren’t toys. Put the hose on the stem and you could see the tire rise up. Today, some even charge a buck for the air, and you still can’t get a tire up to pressure. You can buy groceries and pizza slices and designer coffee, but you can’t put air in your tires without spending a half an hour.

The Old Hand of Oakdale:
Published 12/7/13, SP PP, Bulletin Board

 

Actually, as much as I grumble about today’ tires and rims, they are certainly better than the ones of yesteryear. Every time I watch the tire changing scene in THE CHRISTMAS STORY, I just say to myself, been there done that — way too many times.
 

THE DEATH OF CAMELOT

JFK

It’s been 50 years since JFK was assassinated! Doesn’t seem to me that it has been that long ago. I can remember it like it was yesterday.

I had taken the day off from work because I had to bring our baby for his one year checkup. I was on the floor in the den playing with the baby and his older brother. There was a rerun of Father Knows Best on the TV.

They interrupted the program to break the news about the shooting. I was in a state of shock. The two little ones still wanted to play. And then came the news that our President was dead. Playtime was definitely over for the day. I had all I could do to drive the baby to the doctor’s office later that afternoon.

I had never seen Father Knows Best. And, outside of those few minutes it was on before the breaking news, I have never watched any episode. Even today, if I am running through the channels and one pops up, I immediately change the channel.

The following Sunday my wife and I came back from mass, and the baby-sitter was in tears. She kept sobbing about how she was watching TV and she saw the shooting – live. I paid her off and she went out the door still crying. Silly girl, I thought to myself, where have you been for the last few days? She must have been the only person in the country that didn’t know the President was shot the Friday before. And what she was watching was a video, not live.

And then I saw the news on TV. The girl had every right to cry because she had seen a murder live on television. She had seen Ruby shoot Oswald.

Moments I remember and I wish I could forget.

The Old Hand of Oakdale

Published SPPP, Bulletin Board, 11/22/13   (50th Anniversary)

WHAT IF???

President Kennedy had lived to give the speech he prepared that would declare he was pulling us out of Viet Nam. That alone would have changed the world as we know it today.

In the aftermath of the assassination one of the things Americans lost was a faith in their government. A loss of faith that grows deeper each day. The old saying, My Country Right or Wrong, was at first replaced by Never Trust Anyone Over the Age of 40, and today it is I’m Right. Your Wrong. No Compromise!  Indeed we lost our innocence 11/22/1963.

WHAT IF???

Jack Ruby, a two-bit hood, (which in spite of evidence to the contrary, the FBI ruled did not have connections to the mobs), had not been allowed to wander the halls of the Dallas Police Station carte blanche, armed. Had not died of cancer (?) just before he was going to get a retrial. Would we know more about why he killed Lee Harvey Oswald? Would we know more about assassination of JFK?

NO!

In the 4 major U.S. assassinations of the period, JFK, Oswald, RFK, and Martin Luther King, investigations basically stopped once one person was arrested. Anyone who suggests a conspiracy in the deaths of any of the 4, is labeled a conspiracy nut. And yet!!!

James Earl Ray was arrested and convicted. Like Ruby, he died of natural causes (?) just before his second trial. Later, Dexter, a son of MLK, and one who encouraged a retrial for Ray, sued a restaurant owner in Memphis, for being in the conspiracy to kill his father. Dexter won the lawsuit.

The US House Select Committee, at the end of it’s investigation into the assassination, concluded: The committee believes, on the basis of the circumstantial evidence available to it, that there is a likelihood that James Earl Ray assassinated Dr. Martin Luther King as a result of a conspiracy. The End.

Sirhan Sirhan was determined to have acted alone in the killing of Robert Kennedy, and yet there were witnesses that heard guns shots far exceeding the eight that his gun would have contained. Audio analysis show there were at least 13 gunshots, 5 more than Sirhan Sirhan could have fired from his gun, from 2 different locations. And the FBI also discounted eye witness reports of other guns in the room. They had their one man. The End.

To get back to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, The Warren Commission published it’s report as soon as possible, ignoring accuracy in it’s quest for expediency. It’s conclusion was that both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby acted alone. There was no conspiracy in either case. Later, President Johnson, Robert F. Kennedy, and four members of the Commission had a level of skepticism in the basic findings, as well as countless people all over the world.

The report was full of holes. Some evidence and some eyewitness accounts were never given to the Commission lest it muddied the waters toward the endgame the Commission arrived at. It was, as Mark Lane used for the title of his book, A RUSH TO JUDGMENT.

And yet, people keep using this report as the definitive study of the assassination, in spite of a second report that followed a few years later, again by the US. House Select Committee that ruled:

The committee believes, on the basis of the evidence available to it, that President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy. The committee is unable to identify the other gunman or the extent of the conspiracy.The End!

As far as our government is concerned, we, the people, can’t handle the truth. 

November 22, 1963 – The Day that Camelot died.jfk-funeral-horse_thumb2