It’s what grandparents do.

Post card from the Land of Enchantment.

Sheba, my unidentified wife, and myself are here to act as buffer between parent and our grandkids. Conflict resolution is our specialty. If parents seem unreasonable, Sheba and I will take the opposite tact. Acting as the defence for the accused. And the accused being our lovely and most innocent grandchildren. And for sure we are unbias and fair minded.
Second of all we are here to re-acquint ourselves with our favorite eating establishments. Had an incredible smoke chicken casodilla with salad yesterday at Harry’s Roadhouse. So the next two weeks will be arduous and trying. By the way grandaughter K-13 fixed a marvelous breakfast this morning. So, we’ll let you know how the remaining weeks turn out. Stay tuned.
FYI, my spell checker is not working well. Please forgive my Okie spellmangling.

The Royals.

First of all and foremost Prince Charles is a skunk’s anus. Second, Princess Diana was a wonderful human being and I was in love with her. Her untimely demise absolutely crushed me. But this was twenty years ago and don’t tell Sheba my backstage wife about this secret admiration. Number three, the Queen is a twit and is only there to pronounce Knighthood upon celebrity nare-do-wells. All in all and number four Charlie married the lovely young Princess Diana for breeding purposes only. Charlie needed at least one male heir apparent. None the less, Prince Chuck never gave up his first homely looking crush whose name I forgot (and for good reason). But anyway you can see why Harry and Meghan left Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Too much high brow hoity-toity and folderol. By the way the lovely third tear royal couple received a King’s ransom from the Oprah interview. Enough to pay the rent and buy extra cans of Spam. I just hope Harry finds meaningful work in Santa Barbara.

Where the action was.

Miller’s market.
Miller’s market was on Olympic Boulevard in East L A and the half way point between my home and our elementary school. It was run by Joe Miller and just a Pa store. No ma. He had a small butcher counter, a reasonable produce section, a fair amount of packaged and canned goods, and the essentials up front at the cash register. Comic books, candy bars, bubble gum, and our wax lips and mustaches. But I must say he knew us kids. Mr. Miller was a genius at marketing his little store. He was my friend Donnie and my self’s resource guy and banker. Donnie and I collected soda bottles which were redeemable for cash. Cash that was immediately traded back for comic books and candy. We were okay with this. Any loose leftover pocket change could easily be spent elsewhere on frivolous items.
One of Mr. Miller’s marketing ideas was to have a drawing for a brand new 3-speed racer bike and was displayed up on a high shelf behind the checkout counter. A super bike coveted by any boy-child back in the 1950s. We all signed and put a ticket in the drawing bin and waited several months for the drawing. Winner must be present to win. Then came the evening of the drawing. So to our surprise a short dorky curly hair kid who no one really liked had won the bike drawing. I guess I didn’t wish hard enough.
Then there was a time Oscar Meyer who was really a midget actor in his white chef hat and coat drove up in his Wienermobile out front of Mr. Miller’s store. We kids were so excited. After steping out the side door of the Wienermobile the Oscar Meyer actor gave us kids wiener whistles. Wow! Tweet tweet! But anyway the incentive for Oscar, the actor, to show up with his rolling wiener was a full box of White Owl cigars presented by Mr. Miller. What a guy! Mr. Miller really knew his business and how to draw a crowd
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Where do we put the pork and beans

Downsizement

We live in one of the four Cohousing cottages here at Oakcreek Cohousing Community. All homes side-by-side in a neat little row. They range from about 1k square feet to about 1500 square feet. Each with a front patio with its own design and painted color. Across the middle walk way is four more of the same facing our row of houses. So these eight cottages are designated as ‘Pod-3.’ There are two more pods. Pods one and two. Makes sense huh?
So all pods are set on seven-acres of grass, a larger Common House, garages and car ports, several outbuildings, wooded areas, and a creek running through it.
Now inside sits a puzzlement. We have a refrigerator, a dishwasher, and a washer/dryer combo. All about one third smaller than a typical home large appliance. Thus downsized. So here is where confusion comes in. We still buy and prepare full-size meals. Meals enough for our two daughter’s and their families. But they live far away. But anyway our fridge and pantry is crammed with full-size food goods. Sometimes hard to open or close the little slide-out pantry. Thus we still eat full size meals and wash full size amounts of dish washings. So what have we not learned here? How do we learn how to downsize? What are we doing wrong? Would the local University have beginner courses in downsizing? Maybe we could send a letter to Dear Abby for advisement.

What if they stayed?

Eighty-years ago today my mom and dad with two of my dad’s siblings along with my older sister and brother left Carter County Oklahoma. All were headed for California in hopes of a new life. Some found their new life and some returned to Oklahoma. Luckily my dad found steady and meaningful work in southern California and stayed. He found work with benefits, bought a house, my youngest sister and I were born there, and we all settled into L A cosmopolitan living. All in spite of our extreme Okieness.
Sometimes I get to thinking; what would have happened if my folks hadn’t left Oklahoma. A very scary thought. My folk’s former home back in Carter County was a four-room wooden prairie house on a gravel county-line road south of Wilson. The house had no electricity, running water, no heating and air, no indoor bathroom, and not even a hand pumped water well. Before going to his WPA job each morning my dad had to go across the road to the school house and pump water into two 2-gallon water buckets and carry them back to the house for my mom to have drinking and cooking water for the day. They had to wait for the weekend to carry enough water for bathing. Thus the creation of the Saturday night bath. And that’s not the half of it. All of which means my siblings, their spouses, children, grandchildren, had my folks stayed in Oklahoma, would have grown up there. So how about that possibility you nieces and nephews. No Miller’s market, no DeLuca’s pizzeria, no Bob’s Big Boy drive-in, no See’s candies, no nearby Easter clothes shopping at Sears, and no nearby high school with shop classes and an occasional sock-hops in the boy’s gym. Just lots of very dry sandy red dirt with fire ants had they stayed in Oklahoma.

From progress to regress

Metamorphosis.
I don’t understand why some people change for the worse. Changing from helpful egalitarians into hardened separatist. Separatist who go out of their way to exclude people they don’t agree with. Which leads me to ask why are Republicans becoming more nefarious and leaning towards duplicity? It’s like a dark cloud of evil hiding their inclination to establish a one party authoritarian system. Maybe they can be described as lockstep Trumplicans. “Just do what the boss says.” Why would America want such a thing? What is it that they don’t like about our US Constitution? What is it they dislike about our common good? Do they realize the freedoms they will give up if taking on authoritarianism? Read George Orwell’s 1984. Then read his book, Animal Farm. Both are old classics and still oh so true.

No more tater tots

Call me old and stuck but…
Knowing that the gender police have arrived is unsettling. But first let me offer this narrative:
Back when I was about age eight my dad and I were wandering about in the grocery store while my mom was mulling over what was needed from the butcher counter. So my dad and I decided to walk a few steps next door to Woolworths and scan through all the toy selections just to kill time. As I was scanning all the wonderful toys I spotted a Mr. Potatohead. I saw a commercial for Mr. Potatohead on “Time for Beanie.” A puppet show on L A TV back in the early 1950s. But being one having no measurable communicative skills I just asked my dad to buy that one. No please. No thank you. And to my Okie boy surprise, he bought it for me.
So now my beloved Mr. Potatohead, as mandated by the Gender Gestapo, is just Potatohead. A sexless, genderless mush of potato salad. Are you following me?
Therefore Mr. Ed the horse of course, is just Ed. A genderless horse. And our beloved Mr. Rogers is just children’s TV host Rogers. Now, what would he think? And how about Mrs. Doubtfire would be just Doubtfire. Sounds a bit nuts.
Call me stuck. Call me old fashioned. But never call me Ayers. Instead call me Mr. Potatohead.1

Who the heck said that?

The little Town Church in the vale.
Many years ago and back in the early 1950s our family regularly attended a small fundamentalist church in East L A on Olympic Boulevard just across the street from the Baptist church. Our parents insisted we siblings must attend church without any excuse or resistance.
Next-door to our little church in L A was a funeral home which included two ambulances parked in its driveway facing the street. Ready to be dispatched to any medical event. Being next door to the funeral home our church was the lucky beneficiary of many paper hand fans and conveniently placed in the hymnal racks on the backs of the pews. Fans made of card stock and a wooden handle. Very handy because our little church had no air conditioning. No ceiling fans. Only open windows. So those fans with the funeral home name and phone number printed on them came in very handy. My mother used them often so I would lean in to benefit from the swooshing fan as well. Oh so comforting for an eight-year old.
Now sitting atop the funeral home was a very large two-way dispatch antenna for the ambulances. Not only did the ambulances carry ill people to the hospital but took post mortem folks to the coroner’s facility and then back to the funeral home for viewing and burial.
However the ambulances were not the only receivers of the two-way radio dispatches. Inside our little church and often in mid-sermon on many Sundays; dispatches came through our church’s PA speaker system. “Larry, where in the hell are you. Do you copy?” And it would continue, “You’ve got a DOA on McDonald Street to haul to the coroner’s office. Gets your ass moving.” And so that happened several time since those early radio dispatches. Not sure if the funeral home ever corrected the two-way dispatches into our auditorium but our preacher man later asked the funeral director to instruct the dispatcher to clean up his language until we could work out a resolution to the two-way radio bleed over into the churches PA speaker system. I’m sure my mother would liked to have gone over and washed out the dispatcher’s mouth with Ivory soap just as she did with me on occasion.

From the deep freeze.

Freezing my butt off.
At this writing it is minus 13-degrees here in the Okie nation. The faucets are dripping, the thermostat is set at 67-degrees, all window blinds are shut tight, the attic access is wedged open to allow heat in the attic where the water heater is(not sure why it’s up there), a big bag of ‘Snowmelt’ is on the front porch, and we have shooed away the penguins. How do Eskimos deal with this?

Talking to myself.
Why did we ever move to the mainland from Hawaii? In Hawaii we didn’t have to wear so many layers of clothes. I wore cargo shorts and a flowery aloha shirt to work. Wife wore a blinding floral pattern muumuu. We use to eat snacks off a pu pu platter. We use to see deep blue skies and lots of rainbows. We spoke Hawaiian like Waikiki, Kaanapoli, Moanalua Road, Kaaava Hawaii, Mela Kaliki Maka, and my favorite KanianioliHighway. And if my memory serves me well, it was a lot warmer there by far.