The Memories…

It’s been quite a memorable summer in a lot of ways!

The heat was definitely one reason, just about everyone has memories of how they found sweet relief from it. Whether it was in the pool or the pond, in a lake or a stream, most remedies involve finding some COOL water!

They say that summer days are “okay” but the nights are made for love…

Speaking of love and summer night’s, my wife and daughter both “love” all of the little house books which were originally written by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  So when we read in a local publication that the  Ozark Mountain Players were performing a play on Friday night August 6-7th  in Mansfield, Mo. called Laura’s Memories we decided to go! We drove the short distance to Mansfield early in the afternoon and took in the tour that’s given daily of the author’s home and the museum which is also on the grounds. It was interesting even for me, to see things like the actual fiddle which belonged to “Pa” and other personal family items.

It was a wonderful night of theater under the stars at the newly built outdoor amphitheater!

I very much enjoyed the overall presentation! An actress who bore a remarkable resemblance to the real Mrs.Wilder introduced each scene in which the players re-enacted stories from her books.

The “Farmer Boys” were quite entertaining!

During the intermission, playwright Terry Spyres took the time to meet and talk to my daughter. She was very nice and my daughter was thrilled to meet her!

I ask you, can there be a better way to spend a summer night then at the fair?

What memories!

I don’t really remember where I was when President Kennedy was shot, I was very young, three to be exact. But I can speak with remarkable clarity about the first time anybody ever gave me a five dollar bill. It was on the way to the fair. We were about halfway across the Glenstone viaduct when my father’s large hairy arm reached over the white leather front seat of our 1963 Buick Riviera into the back seat holding two crisp five dollar bills which he fanned apart with his thumb and index finger towards my brother and I.

I was couldn’t of been much more than six years old…

I have no doubt that I spent at least part of my windfall on a pineapple whip ice cream cone. I think they probably still sell them there although I’m sure they’re not as good now. And corndogs, the kind that they make fresh! I always appreciated the medium sized paint brush that was there to use for slathering on the mustard, “these people really know how to eat!” I thought.

Who hasn’t walked through the gauntlet of carnival game row? Can you remember the scary guy that barked you down?  The guy with an earring and numerous tattoo’s chain smoking a Camel no-filter who by the insistent tone of his gravelly voice left you no choice but to,

“Try a free throw kid, every ones a winner!”

How about a Demolition Derby?

It wouldn’t be a proper fair without some type of a grandstand show! Whether it’s a concert, a truck pull, a beauty contest, an actual stock car race or whatever. I’m partial to dirt track car races myself, the kind that put enough red clay dust into the air that you can actually taste it! Along with the horrendous noise of the un-muffled engines, the burning smell of rubber, gas and oil, it’s an experience that never fails to get my adrenalin pumping! It’s sort of a man thing, although I have seen lots of women get plenty excited rooting for their favorite driver!

I need to turn this little trip down memory lane back towards the house…I hope that I’ve reminded you of some special memories you have of summertime. I hope that I’ve provided my daughter with some good times that she’ll be able to look back on with fondness someday. I’m thankful for my memories, they’re like snapshots we keep in our hearts of the moments when we forgot about everything else except the fun we were having! I’m also thankful to God for how He continues to care for me and my family in these tough times. Who like my own father, knows my needs and who’s gifts to me aren’t based on what I deserve but instead on His great love for me!

Thanks Dad…

Remember is a place from long ago
Remember filled with everything you know
Remember when you’re sad and feelin’ down
Remember turn around

Remember life is just a memory
Remember close your eyes and you can see
Remember think of all that life can be

Remember

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Harry Nilsson-Remember

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Green Banana’s

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I can always tell when it’s getting to be time for me to write another blog.

For days now, I’ve been hearing internal dialogue’s going on in my mind…

Phrases turned, concepts tried, meaning sought.

I chose this title because of a phrase my father used to say in reference to his health

“I don’t even buy green banana’s anymore.”

There’s something comical to me about a person seeming to have so little sensitivity about their own eminent mortality. It’s as if whats of greatest importance is to engage the other person by means of “truth telling” or “gallows humor.” It also reminded me of our current economic malaise, the whole de-flation thing. Banana’s are normally about .69 a pound (green bananas) But if you wait for a short while, they bundle them up on a tray and sell ’em for a quarter a pound! They say they’re “over-ripe” but I’ve never thought so, they’re actually just right and the price is right too! Why should I care if somewhere in Central America a banana farmer has to lay off a few workers or cut the wages of some others because I wouldn’t pay .69 a LB for banana’s?


(these are the banana workers)

What am I trying to do, guilt you into paying full price for some bananas?

No, I’m just using the banana story to illustrate something I’m sure most of you already know. That for every person who holds the clean end of the stick…

(well you know what that leaves)

Also, to try to give a real life example of what each of our choices or actions say about what we really think is going on.

How about the consumer confidence level? Given the uncertain nature of our economy, right now may not be the best time to spend money on new big ticket items or take on long term debt. Many Americans are only spending on necessities and are putting off the”wants” in favor of the “needs.” Still others are of the opinion that our current economic cycle is precisely that. That there’s little cause for serious concern. To quote a late great elder statesman, one Frank Zappa, who in a song by the same name playfully mocked American people by saying, “It can’t happen here!” (please,check it out) What can’t happen? That our highly prized way of life could rather suddenly go by the wayside…

It certainly has “happened” to me!

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I find it to be the height of coincidence that my situation has so closely paralleled the bigger picture of our country, not only in the last few years but in the years since my birth in 1960. So if you’re looking for someone to blame I suppose that’d be me… I witnessed the American family becoming less relevant than the self, providing the proper mindset to embrace the rising drug culture as my “religion” in the 1970’s. I was flush with the fashion in the conspicuous eighties, doing my utmost to consume enough “whatever” to keep the wind from whistling through the hole in my soul. It’s a lot harder than you think to be tragically hip..

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you no one told you when to run you’ve missed the starting gun…(Breathe-Pink Floyd)

A great ironic hallmark happened to me in the 1990’s, supposedly I was “over the hill” chronologically. But due to my years of drug use I was emotionally still a child in a lot of critical ways. Before this decade was through I had had it all and lost it all, I faced the new millennium sober for the first time in my adult life. I was a 40yr old “Green Banana”

A brave new century, and a new life! which seemed to me to be about putting out fires and exorcising the demons of the past by living “politically correctly” in the present. A plausible theory if you don’t start any new fires which can harbor new demons. We all must eventually confront our own frailties and understand our own new limitations. I became old early in February of 06′ when I slipped and fell on some wet steps. It was more than my rotator cuff that shattered that groundhog’s day morning, it was my invincibility. Sort of like my own personal “twin towers” moment.

They say it’s a recession when it happens to someone else, but it’s a depression when it happens to you.

My last full time job prior to being a school bus driver ended on 07/07/07…
I was blacklisted in the trucking industry when a former employer lied about me to the driver “advocacy” council, (legally libeled)
By December of last year I was behind on my mortgage and looking to put my home on the market…(I’m still in my home by the grace of God!)
By April my car had been repossessed, (which made me eligible for food stamps) and my pastor provided me with one that had been donated to him.
I went “belly up” on my credit cards, owing about 7-8 thousand dollars, I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls but nothing more than that.
I “survived” for months on money I made selling vegetables I grew, fresh eggs, and stuff I owned that I sold as well as some small odd jobs I took on.
I turned myself in to the authorities in August because I was unable to appear in court on contempt charges related to my child support and spent 10 days in jail, I was deemed too wealthy to receive “free counsel.” (I was released on 08/08/08)

Naturally, I had to chuckle when they announced in late November of this year that our country was in a recession.

There’s something comical to me about a person seemingly having so little sensitivity about their own eminent mortality.

My father passed on the summer before last, and so now it’s me that doesn’t buy green bananas…