Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Funny Little Stories

Back in the mid 60s my Dad went to the local grocery store to buy some steaks to celebrate his new job. He cooked them on the grill and made them medium-rare the way we all liked them. Well as we started to eat our steaks they seemed to be kinda chewy. It took 5 minutes to eat 1 tiny piece. My dad got some cardboard and a nail and hammered up a sign on a tree in our back yard facing the road. The sign said " This Grocery store's steaks taste like Shoe Leather". I wish I had gotten a pic of that sign!        
I'll never forget the time me and 2 friends "found" a bag of oreo cookies, some cigars and a Penthouse magazine at a gas station. 1 friend went back to talk to the mechanic while we did our "finding". This was the great summer of 1966 and it was time to build our fort. We found this huge grapevine bush and gutted it out and proceeded to drink pepsi , eat oreos, "read" our magazine and then smoke cigars for dessert. We had a blast.
One winter when I was around 9 years old I found this cacoon so I brought it in the basement. Well i had no idea the warm house would make my cacoon think it was spring time , but around late Feb I heard my mom scream. She said she saw a bat in the basement so I went down to look. What I saw was a beautiful huge Cecropia Moth. It must have had an 8 inch wingspan. The sad thing is she made me set it free outside so it probably froze to death. To bad I didn't get a pic of it.
One morning  my brother Brad and 2 sisters, Mindy and Missy, were having breakfast in our downstairs kitchen by the lake. It was a school morning and it was sprinkling out. As we ate we happened to see this big old fat toad on the sidewalk and he was eyeing this green caterpiller. His tongue shot out and grabbed that caterpillar and he swallowed it as his eyes tightly shut. I ran out to grab the toad by Momio said "Leave it alone you will give him an upset stomach and go catch the Bus instead."
Growing up as a teen we had a siamese cat named "Mai-Ling" It was a very well behaved animal, always kept himself clean but hated to be held over 15 seconds and only 5 seconds upside down. Mai-Ling was a prolific hunter and he liked to show off his "trophies" by placing them in front of the back door. I have seen dead birds,mice,moles,chipmonks, even baby rabbits laid upon our back door while Mai-Ling basks in his glory. He was very proud of his booty. One day I was watching him stare at a sandstone wall. There are lots of little holes in this wall where chipmonks have made tunnels. A chipmonk started to come out a hole, then he saw Mai-Ling but instead of running was petrified with fear. This cat had some kind of hypnotic power that could freeze many animals in their tracks. Well that chipmonk could not move and Mai-Ling just bit on to the back of his neck and just carried him off. What a fun day to be a cat! One time Mai-Ling was staring at the sandstone wall and I snuck up behind him and put my hands on his sides. Boy he jumped straight up in the air about 4 feet. That was pretty cool. I guess his legs were so tense so to be able to jump at a moments notice. This cat loved to be warm, if it was wintertime he always had to be on something warm, the stove, the TV or if they both were off, on your lap. This cat did not feel comfortable untill it was 95F out. Siamese cats are from Egypt so this may explain his Love of Heat. As he cleaned himself he would put one back leg straight up in the air. My Mom would say "He's got his Flagpole up".
Every spring we had a wooden dock that we set out on Gilletts Lake. It had about 7 or 8 sections depending on how old or rotten each section was. If 2 were real bad my dad would get some wood sections and we could hammer a dock section together. These dock sections had lead pipes that help them up and steel S-Hooks that went one end under the dock and the other end inside the empty pipe. Well all winter this dock has been stacked on the sidewalk and the pipes set under the dock sections. In the spring my brother Brad and my dad, Dadio take a section of dock and float it in the water then we set it on the wall where it will rest. The next step is lining up 2 lead pipes next to each side of the other end of dock section leaving space at the end for the next 2 pipes. Brad holds the dock up while I hold the pipe and Dadio pounds it with a sledgehammer into the sand [sometimes muck]. As he pounds this lead pipe, pieces of lead come flying off on my hands and can sting. I even have been cut a few times but that's alright, I was more worried about Dadio missing the pipe and breaking my arm :-] He never did miss . As he pounds these pipes in, serveral sized spiders will come crawling out of the pipe, being upset over having been disturbed from such a nice spring nap. I suppose the loud clanging of the sledgehammer on the pipe and the hard vibration doesnt help much either. One year Dadio was pounding a pipe into the water and a little toad popped out from the pipe, jumped off and swam towards shore. Its weird, all animals I saw that fall in the water always seem to know which way the sore is.As you can guess, this one chore was not the most pleasurable one. In fact Id saying putting in the dock was the worst chore next to taking out the dock. I'd say taking out the dock is a tiny bit easier due to not having to pound the pipes in. I just had to pull them out but some were stuck in the mud and muck a lot harder than others. Overall taking out the dock took less time. Then 2nd worst is cleaning the eaves which was very dangerous since Dadio used this old wooden ladder that was long and was very wobbly. I had to climb up 3 stories high on the front of the house while Dadio held the ladder. There's no way Dadio would climb while I held because if he fell I'd be crushed and I think I had better chances if he tried to catch me. The best time to clean the eaves was during a dry spell because wet leaves are heavy and the water can be pretty cold. Lots of spiders like to live up there also and worms plus a few other nasty bugs I never really tried to catagorize.The 3rd worst chore was raking leaves because our yard was so huge. I would rake up lots of small piles cause it seemed I was getting done faster but believe me, it doesnt help. What did help was when the entire family was out there raking and sharing in carrying the tarp, which eased the boredom, especially with our jokes and recollections on acheiving World Peace. Another nice benefit was Momio was cooking up a fantastic dinner and would bring out hot chocolate for us all to keep warm with. Maybe I should move this chore down to 4th worst.the 4th worst chore was shoveling snow. We had 2 driveways and sidewalks going all around the house. Even with 2 inches of snow it would take me an hour or more to clear it all off. One year we had a big snowfall and this guy asked me if he could shovel the long driveway with his truck for a discounted rate of $10. I was working then as a teen so I said "sure I got $10". What I didnt know was when the snow melted, it showed where his blade had scraped all the grass off near the driveway. Dadio was furious but didn't punished me. I suspected he actually liked the idea of spreading seed and straw because he loved yardwork. It was his challenge to see if he could get that destroyed section looking exactly like the rest of the yard. I learned never to let a plow on our driveways.The 5th worst chore was mowing the lawn though I kinda liked it, it just took time away from my turtle hunting or water skiing.My 6th  worst chore was actually fun. Burning the trash has its benefits. The burning barrel was behind the garage so no one could see me smoking the cigarette butts Momio and Dadio threw away.