A man who gave the Dodgers a voice.

Now try to follow with me on this. Back in about 1958 something possessed my parents to buy a big blond stereo from Sears and put it in the Livingroom. A blond wood stereo with an array of different size speakers that a 14-year-old teen boy only could wish for. Previous we had only a clock-radio in the kitchen and an old mahogany single speaker AM radio/record player. Not really sure why they bought that old dark mahogany thing either.
But anyway, I discovered the FM side of the dial on this new stereo and started listening to jazz and big band. It was so cool and loud. High fidelity out the wah-zoo. You know what I mean huh?
Then about that same time the Brooklyn Dodgers moved to Los Angeles and while waiting for a new stadium to be built, the Dodgers started played in the L A Coliseum. A venue meant for football or track and field competition. A sporting place where the 1932 Olympics were held.
However, for a year or two, the Dodgers played major league baseball in the coliseum. A place a bit far to go and watch a NLB ball game. Then someone mentioned I should tune in my new big radio to KFI AM640 and listen to a Dodger ball game. So, I switched back to the AM dialed one afternoon and tuned in a Dodger game.
Hey, I thought, who is this guy announcing the play-by-play? Then I listened on and eventually he mentioned his name. Hello everybody, this is Vin Scully with Dodger baseball. I was intrigued with his smooth delivery and he was so knowledgeable as well. Mr. Sculley sounded like he was talking only to me. So, I listened on. His voice projected confidence along with a casual manner as if he came to our house to talk baseball. I continued to listen to many games into the future and enjoyed Vin’s colorful play by play. How did he get that soothing voice? What did he have to do to gain all that baseball knowledge? This may seem dumb but I could listen to Vin Scully all day and not tire of listening to him. Only if my teachers at school could sound like Vin Scully as well.
I could go on and on but my point here is this; Vin Scully died yesterday. He was 94. And as far as I am concerned, the world’s best sports caster and human being. God rest his soul. Amen.

Just a dollars worth and check my pressure.

1973 was the year full-service gas stations came to an abrupt end. It stopped ‘snap’ just like that! Swift without any means of restoration to full service. No one could reverse this sudden inconvenience. Gas stations or service stations flipped to a self-service or DIY service.
But first let me explain what full-service gas stations were to those of you who weren’t either paying attention back then or were born after1970 or later. Once upon a time an American motorist was able to easily drive his or her VW bug or Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud into most any corner gas station, drive over the bell-ringing trip hose, then immediately a gas station attendant would rush out to the driver’s side of the vehicle and offer his help. “Fill’er-up” driver might say. Then the attendant would commence to pick up the gasoline nozzle from the gas pump, stick in the gas tank cap opening, and fill your car with the gasoline dealer’s best petrol. All done without the driver ever getting out of the car. Then the attendant would ‘pop’ your car’s hood and check the oil level, radiator water level, and fill up your windshield washer water container. All for the price of a filling. If the oil dipstick indicated low oil, then the attendant could pour in additional oil into the oil cap intake for an additional cost. Usually about fifty-cents per quart back then. I might add when I started driving back in 1960, gasoline per gallon was about 15-cents. But anyway, all the dirty work of filling up and checking oil was done by the red rag carrying and brown uniformed station attendant. It kept our hands clean and the only thing we had to do is give the man cash or a credit card. Those were the days.
My favorite gas station to frequent when living in Honolulu was the station run by JC Penny Price per gallon of gas was about 25-cents at that time. Then on top of that the gas attendants were young high school boys and girls in cute shorts and Hawaiian print polo shirts. I must confess the girls could handle the job as well as the boys. Which to my way of thinking was preferable. Nothing like a cute teen girl with bubble gum breath at the driver’s window asking how she could help.
Then came like an unexpected air raid siren, the bad news. Here came an oil embargo from OPEC. Oil producing Exporting consortium or something like that. It was unabashedly an oil cartel of middle east oil producing nations. In other words, OPEC either cut off all oil exports or a significant percentage. If I recall, the middle east oil producing nations had some disagreement with the American government. Resulting in a man-made oil shortage that ended up in limited gasoline availability. America’s own oil production was limited at that time. Then it induced panic and long lines at gas stations. Cutting profits for big oil companies and their retailers. We consumers had to wait int long lines and sometimes for hours to get to the pump for a few gallons of gas. Some late evenings we had to drive down to our favorite gas station and park our car in line in order to fill it up the next morning. Riding a bicycle became an option. All this went on for many months. Then OPEC decided to lift the embargo. More gas became available but full service never came back. On top of that gas prices at that time doubled or some places tripled. Adding angst to oil anxiety. So goodbye full-service. Hello to inflated prices. But since that time gas prices have fluctuated up and down no matter who was the President in Washington. As a result of all the above, gasoline sales had shifted from the typical gas station over to mostly being sold at convenient stores at a reduced price. Four to six bucks per gallon is a reduced price? Give me a break. Where’s my electric car?

Only five-cents for a bottle of dark deliciousness.

The big red machine.
It was big as a Frigidaire refrigerator. But with one exception. It wasn’t white like the one in my mom’s kitchen. It was a bit bigger but very red. Often found outside on the curbing around a gas station. And scribed across its front in large white lettering was ‘CokeOfCola.’ The front panel operation was most easy to follow. Even me a first-grader could understand what it was trying to tell me. First, Over to one side was a coin slot for purchase. I first remember way back when depositing just one nickel. Five-cents. Then a bit towards the middle was a big gray lever one would shove downwards and suddenly just below in a larger opening with a flap door would come an eight-ounce green tinted glass bottle of Coke. The frosty bottle came with a splined edge bottle cap. Tightly sealed to retain carbonation and coolness. Then one would have to remove the cap in order to drink directly from the green tinted bottle. To facilitate such an operation a person/myself would insert the cap side end into a bottle cap remover just below where it says ‘Bottle Opener.’ Then just after popping the bottle cap one could eagerly drink with poise and panache straight from the bottle. Just like John Wane did in his favorite saloon. Which I did with boyish gusto. Sometimes a frothy foam will rise to the top and you would have to drink the Coke immediately or loose some of the precious liquid. Then when the Coke contents was consumed one would either put the bottle into a slotted wire rack on the side of the big red machine or pay an additional two-cents deposit. Only if you wish to take the bottle with you. I usually didn’t because I seldom had the extra two-cents.
The ‘Big Red Machine” was an icon of refreshment and an oasis found at most gas stations we stopped at on our summer road trip from Los Angeles to Oklahoma and back. Each station stop was just a few minutes. My dad didn’t want to waste time with too much fiddling at each gas stop. In addition to buying a bottled Coke we had to first use the station’s restroom and then rush to the Big Red Machine. Quickly make the Coke purchase, drink it down with in a matter of seconds, put the bottle in to the bottle rack and get back in to the already running car. “Get in now” my dad would command. However, we became accustomed to the routine. Never mind all the slurping, hick-upping, and belching that would occur when drinking a carbonated drink too fast.
One summer about a year later disaster occurred when I discovered a price increase on one of the Big Red Machines. Pasted over the Five-cents price was a piece of paper scotched taped with the bad news. Ten-cents the sign demanded. I had only a nickel. Then I heard my dad yelling, “Get in the car, now! So, off we went with me sullen and distraught. What a way to spoil a summer vacation.

What I wouldn’t do if eating with the Queen.

From the Confessional.
I have these habits and foibles I must confess. Just to get it off my gray hairy chest. Please understand. I’m trying to be good.
I love a good bowl of cereal. Especially if it is some of that homemade granola we buy at Sprouts. Sprinkle it with raisins and sunflower seeds. Then top with Braums best 2-percent milk. I love to flood the bowl with 2-percent. But when I get down to the dregs of the granola leaving a half-inch of milk. It is too much time wasted dipping spoon after spoon the remaining milk into my mouth. I just tip the bowl up and slurp it down like from a cup. Just tip and down it goes Remember, the Queen does not participate in repast here. Only Sheba witnesses this barbaric procedure. Again, I do this to save time and motion.
Likewise, after my wife cuts open and sections out a good juicy grapefruit and after scooping out with a spoon the fruit meat, I like to squeeze the remaining juice from the grapefruit into my bowl and once again, I drink the remaining juice straight from the bowl the grapefruit half sits in. Often it is so good to drink good sweet grapefruit juice. So good and once again a sign of barbarism. Well, it’s too much trouble to go to the cabinet and get a juice glass. You know what I mean?
Then there is this: Something I learned from my Okie dad. My red dirt farmer dad loved his biscuits. Biscuits accompanied with good eggs over easy. Paying close attention to not over-cook the yoke. The sunny yellow yoke must be left a bit ‘runny.’ Salt and pepper to taste.’ Then after engaging the egg with knife and fork one must decide what to do with the remaining yoke runnage. Then it is time to pick out of the biscuit pan a good warm and buttered biscuit. This is the art of sopping. You take a good fluffy buttered biscuit and sop the remains. Absorbing the yellow yoke remains into the biscuit and place in mouth and enjoy. It is oh so delicious. Try it. You’ll like it.
But anyway, I’m not going to talk to you about, licking fingers or wiping them on my jeans. No sir. It’s too gross. So there. That’s my confession.

Okie poet society, a poem.

Red Dirt Poetry.

By Okie beyond borders

Dusty winds whistled about Through the baren leafless trees.
The rusty sandpaper sky hung over the horizon like a theater backdrop
As if In a John Steinbeck novel.
Shuffling and searching in the foreground for whatever meager sustenance there possibly could be
Were silhouettes of three searchers. Billy, Bob, and Bartholomew.
A trio of feathered Rhode Island Reds. Roosters in search
Of digestible skittering groundlings scurrying about in every direction.
Skittering groundlings in the dusty red gritty sand trying not too
he hopelessly devoured by the three-scratching auburn feathered peckers.
Pecking cocks famished from hours and endless hours
Of searching
And pecking. Pecking, scratching, and mournfully crowing their despair.

Copyright, 2022
Charles Oldenfatt.

Driving my red headed aunt in her orange car.

Drive her to Oklahoma
It wasn’t but a few days after I finished my sophomore year in high school June 1960 and my Aunt Elsie came and asked to drive her to Oklahoma. Well, to be fair she would share the driving duties as well.
However, I had not taken my final driver’s test. I was 16-years old but was not fully licensed. Just had a learner’s permit. Hadn’t at that time gotten my driver’s license even though I turned sixteen back in February. Had nothing to drive so hadn’t thought about it.
But now I had a driving challenge. Drive my red headed Aunt in her 1956 orange Mercury very long boat-car from Los Angeles all the way to Wilson Oklahoma. A 1500-mile trek. Just me and my short fused cantankerous Old Maid auntie.
First let me give you a biographical sketch of my aunt Elsie. She was the youngest of seven siblings. Baby of the family. Perhaps a tiny bit spoiled. Her parents, my grandparents, had died before Aunt Elsie had finished high school and she ended up living on an Oklahoma farm with her middle sister, Jessi Mae and Jessie’s husband Kelly. None the less, when Aunt Elsie graduated in either 1942 or 43, she decided to move to California and lived with my parents who had already moved to the L A area in 1941. And I might mention here Aunt Elsie at a young age thought of herself as her own boss. Code for difficult to get along with.
She lived for a short while with my parents until she had enough. Her short fuse was oh so easy to trigger. Then, Aunt Elsie found work at a local ice cream parlor just up the street and then found a very small cracker box apartment to start her independent life. And it continues on from there. Later on, my dad helped Elsie find a better paying job at the food processing plant where my dad worked in the meat-packing district of L A. Unfortunately, her sausage packing job came to a sudden end when the company decided to move the process out of state. Then another resourceful friend helped Aunt Elsie apply for a job in a warehouse as an office clerk earning even better wages and benefits. All the while Elsie was a bit self-possessed and head strong with a red headed old maid’s short temper. Never knew why she didn’t marry. Oh well
So back to this driving to Oklahoma thing. It started with my aunt and me driving to the DMV to take the drivers test in her big orange boat-car. All went well and Aunt Elsie and I were off to southern red dirt Oklahoma. And I might mention the Interstate highway system was just beginning. If I recall correctly, we drove on two-lane highways almost all the way to southern Oklahoma. And some of that driving was through Interstate highway construction and gravel roads. Taken the southern route we drove down through humid El Centro, Yuma Arizona, Tucson, over the southern Rockys of New Mexico, on through Lubbock Texas, into Wichita Falls, crossing north over the Red River on a very narrow bridge, and north into the teeming Geomegalopous of Wilson, Oklahoma. A former oil and gas boomtown gone bust. But a most quaint and very friendly little rural dusty red dirt town where my grandmother and other relatives lived. So, Auntie and I finally arrived there with little serious argument and without even killing each other. The driving gods must had been with us. Boy Howdy! You’ve got that right.

Continuing my drunk person series. DUI Dancing.

DUI Dancing Under the Influence.
Back when I was a mere 18-years old in 1962 my friend Jim and I would occasionally drive up into the San Bernardino mountains east of Los Angeles and visit a friend who lived in the upper desert of Hesperia. A place that certainly can become desert hot in the summer time and fall well below freezing in the winter. A good place to take your one-hump camel and acclimate the beast to be ridden in the sandy dunes of the Saudi Arabian desert.
But anyway, Jim and I while visiting there would often stay with a friend who we knew when he lived in East L A. Our upper-desert friend named Ronnie had a country band and they played in various bars, roadhouses, and other public places in the San Berdo upper desert. Ronnie himself played the lead guitar. There was one other guitarist and a drummer in his country band. Jim and I drove once to listen to Ronnie and his band rehearse. They were not half bad. A little clunky here and there but pretty good. Good for upper desert amateur minstrels.
Then that following Sunday afternoon Jim and I drove to a roadhouse dance hall just out of Hesperia to listen to Ronnie and his country band actually perform. They performed in a large dance hall. It was a bit warmish inside and the back double doors were wide open to allow air flow and clear out the stuffy smokey place and let it cool down. All the while his band was picking and grinning. Playing old standard country tunes. After entering the big metal building Jim and I sat down on benches at a long pick-nick type table. A table you would bring a party, sit, and drink and dance. So, Jim and I ordered Cokes. We sat there and listened to Ronnie sing and pick. Out on the dance floor There were one or two couples out tittering and swaying on the dance floor and slowly sliding about. As I was sipping on my iced Coke and to my surprise a noticeably drunk woman and her partner approached our table and with slurred speech the tipsy woman asked me to dance with her. I then looked at Jim and he looked back with that ‘now what are you going to do’ look. Not knowing what else to say I told her the truth. I don’t know how to dance but she kept on begging me to dance with her. Begging me as her partner, who I assume was her husband was holding her elbow as to steady her. Once again, I mentioned, “I do not know how to dance. Thinking to myself how I had turned down girls my age in the recent past. One when at our high school graduation party. One cute little Jewish girl who asked me to the Christmas ball. Another girl from my high school when I was sitting and listening to a live band at a dance club in west L A. And the truth be known my fundamentalist mother told me if I ever dance with girls an uncertain fate will befall me. And I could only imagine the dance floor opening up dropping me into a smoky inferno.
So, no! I do not dance. I do not know how to dance. Go dance with your tipsy partner. I do not care for blazing hot infernos. I told Jim it was time to leave. I think my mom is calling me.

Book Report: Three books for the price of one.

Book Report.
Here is John Grisham times three. A compilation of novellas in one bound volume. Grisham first takes us back to familiar territory with one of his favorite attorney characters. Jake Brigance is contacted by an ex-lawyer friend who skipped town with some client’s cash, left his wife and family, and escaped to Costa Rica to live the Jimmy Buffett life. But after three years away wants to come back and re-establish relationship with his daughters. But his homecoming plans don’t work out so well.
Second short story follows almost minute by minute the last three hours of a death-row inmate named Cody. A young man who was an accomplice to a double murder but did not pull the trigger. After many years of appeals the kid is facing the last few moments of his life. But then Cody receives a surprise wheelchair bound visitor. An older woman who has always believed in him and sent him books to read. Then later after his last meal Cody asks the prison guard with just minutes left for a special favor. He begs the guard to allow him to go outside and view the ‘strawberry’ moon one last time before his execution.
The third and last story pits sparring and contentious lawyer brothers into one big double-crossing scheme against the brothers imprisoned ex-lawyer father. Their father and his accountant hold in an off-shore bank account big money from a huge tobacco settlement. However, the brothers offer a cut to the accountant to access the off-shore account. Plus sharing a cut with their woman office manager. Then their scheming plans don’t seem to work out.
The title of the book is “Sparring Partners’ by John Grisham, short story fiction and legal issues, 2022. Grisham had partially written three stories with the intent to expand each into a full novel but decided to create three novellas instead and publish in one volume.
The story about the death row inmate is most compelling. The other two are just icing on the cake. My comments: All are most readable. Read them. You’ll like them.

The slowest fast food I’ve ever had.

Fast food eatery I will never go to again.
Carl’s, Jr. To begin with and in retrospect this is Carl’s routine go-to policy. Let me explain. We just exited I-40 and drove up to the Carl’s, Jr. Drive-thru to make an order. Their outside menu showed they have various chicken items. Both sandwiches and chicken strips and they also had on their outside menu vanilla and chocolate milk shakes. However, the person inside and speaking through the outdoor speaker told us the drive-thru was closed and come inside to make your order. We did so thinking they must be a bit short handed on the inside today. We just came off the highway and was hoping to continue on with our trip after receiving an order at the window. But anyway, we went inside. Inside we gave our order. A chicken sandwich, chicken strips, fries, and I wanted a small chocolate milk shake. They told us they did not have any chicken what so ever. Then they told us they do not have any milk shake mixes either. Consequently, all they had was two or three kinds of hamburgers. So, we ordered two burgers to go. Then we asked for a Coke and sprite. No, they had only Root beer. To repeat they had no chicken, no milk shakes, and no Cokes or Sprites. Well then, had they told us this outside at the drive-thru order station we would have driven on. And I am certain this is what Carl’s was thinking we and others would do. A McDonalds was nearby. The maddening thing is once they have you inside you are almost compelled by frustration or embarrassment to take what they have. Again, and to repeat this is an obvious Carl’s, Jr. policy. And I will never drive through a Carl’s, Jr. ever again.

A pillowy mound of pillows.

I absolutely don’t get it!
Sheba, my secret spouse, insists we have piles and piles of pillows on our bed. Pillows that cover half the bed. And we are talking a queen size bed. What is Sheba trying to accomplish here? Are we to hide under them during a bombing raid? Or dig in under if a case of an earthquake? What earthly purpose do they fulfill? I guess only Sheba knows.
There is my regular sleeping pillow with just a white pillow slip. One pillow on top of that with a matching material as the bed cover. Then on top of that is yet another matching pillow cover as the bed cover. Then the same on Sheba’s side of the bed. And if that aint enough a smaller pillow atop all that pillowy heap. Seven freaking pillows in all. Then at night when one wishes to sleep the pillowy heap must be removed with only the one white cased pillow to sleep on. What the heck for!? Only Sheba knows. Does anybody else have such a mound of pillows atop their bed…and what for? All these pillows cost money. Money that could be used to buy a tank of gas plus a new car to boot. Ju