Eatin Chickin

Grampa Jim loved chicken and chicken soup.  Most of his teeth were gone, so he had a hard time chewing tough meats.  When Mom made chicken soup, she used the entire chicken in the pot.  We ate the soup with her homemade noodles. For chicken soup she cut the dough into long fine strands.  We ate the soup first. She served the boiled chicken parts for the main course.  Dad always took the breast; I always took a leg.  Gramps stuck to the wings, feet, neck, and head.  He thought he would be taking it off our plate if he took a larger part to eat.

By the end of the meal he had the neck sucked down to a pile of discrete vertebrae.  He did the same with the wings, and feet.  We all hated the boiled skin, so we pushed it aside into a pile on our plates.  Gramps always asked for the skin, remarking “You’re leaving the best part behind”.

Toward the end of the meal, Gramps attacked the chicken head.  He used the fine point of his pocket knife blade to pick the eyes from the socket, and eat the eye right off the tip. He never washed his pocket knife, he only wiped it off, folded it, and put it back into his pocket. I was with him at times when he used the same knife to cut fish for bait.

It was a short time before the chicken head was a bare bony skull; smaller than a walnut.   One would think that there was nothing more to eat, but we were always wrong.  Gramps set the skull down on the table. He lined up the sharp edge of his knife along the top of the skull. Then, SLAM. He hit the dull side of the knife with a karate chop. The heel of his hand slammed against the knife to split the skull in two.  Again, he used the very tip of the knife to pick out the chicken brain which was the size of a small pea.  Sometimes he had to pick a piece out of both parts.  The brain disappeared into his mouth off the end of the knife like it was caviar.

Long Hard Winter

When Grampa Jim stayed in Michigan for the winter, his life was extremely hard.  It wasn’t until he reached his late seventies that mom insisted he come to live with us for the winter.  Even then, he would only last until March, and then one day he would disappear. He took a bus back to Coloma.  God only knows how he made it out to the farm from town.  Other times he took the train from South Chicago to Watervliet.

Gramps winterized the house for the really cold months.  The house didn’t have insulation, but did have storm windows.  The heat came from pot-bellied stoves.  One was in the living room, the other in the dining room.  To conserve heat, he hung a heavy blanket from floor to ceiling over the archway that separated the living room from the rest of the house.  This way, when he fired up the stove, the heat stayed in one room.   He closed the doors to the bedrooms to further seal off the big room.   His cot was in a corner. He pulled the dining room table into the opposite corner by the driveway and the front yard.  This gave him daylight from the windows on both walls.

Grampa Jim got icy cold water from a hand pump in the kitchen, and warmed it on the kerosene stove.  I remember seeing lots of coffee cans under his bed. Others were  by the door.  Some had fluid in them, some were dry.  He used the cans to save going outside to urinate.  The outhouse was  seventy-five feet away from the side door.  God knows what he did when the snow was deep.

Gramps didn’t weigh more that 120 pounds for his  five foot height. His diet was simple. During the winter he subsisted on canned foods like pork and beans and soups. Hot dogs were a treat.  He recycled the grease in his solitary fry pan. Sometimes, he soaked a slice of  rye bread in hot grease for a yummy meal. When he had kerosene, he warmed soup in the can.  Other times he warmed the soup can on the pot belly.

One of his vices was smoking, but in winter he never walked the quarter mile to the store to buy a pack of Camels.  There was always a sack of Bull Durham around, and he rolled his own. After he ran out of tobacco he scoured the ash trays for butts .  Friends and neighbors came by to check on him when they hadn’t seen him for a while.

The pot belly stove kept him from freezing;  he burned coal. It was a chore to drag a few pounds at a time from the basement in a coal bucket.  Winter on the farm was brutal, but he preferred living independently. He lived alone as long as he could. Eventually, he gave in to his daughter’s arguments, and came to spend winters in the city .

Grampa Jim Studies

In the wintertime, Grandpa Jim came to live with us.  The winters in Michigan were hard.  His house wasn’t insulated, and there were only two pot belly stoves to heat the place.  There was no indoor toilet.  So, Mom insisted that Gramps stay with us.

His day began with a breakfast of coffee and bread. He tore one slice of  Silvercup bread into shreds, and plunked them into coffee with milk. Slowly, he spooned up the soggy bread like cereal. After he ate, he shuffled into the living room to sit in the easy chair to read.  First, he read the Hungarian paper cover to cover. The special paper came once a week, but it didn’t matter. He re-read the thing everyday until the new issue arrived. After he finished the Hungarian news he moved to the daily Chicago Times. After the Times, he pulled out a volume of the encyclopedia, and read that.  He was self-taught, and his  English reading skill was not great; but he loved to study. When he returned to the farm, he had new knowledge to share with his friends at Fish Corners.

GRAMPA JIM’S LAST DAY

Grumpa Joe as a Toddler

Grampa Wigh died with a cigarette burning in his hand.  The ash was nearly one inch long.  He was discovered by a friend.  The friend stopped by to pick him up, a daily routine.  They would drive the distance to Fish Corners for a beer.  Grampa would stay at the tavern all evening, nursing his one beer and smoking his Camel cigarettes.  He would spend the time socializing with the many people who came to Fish Corners for gas or groceries, or for a social outlet.

When the friend, Mr. Toth, didn’t get a response from his toot, he decided to check on Jim.  Jim was just inside the door on the daybed.  The cigarette was still burning between his fingers.  He looked asleep.  He was dead.  It was 1958 and I was at the University of Illinois in my first semester after transferring from St. Joe College.

Blue Monday

Talk about blue monday, I’ve had it. Not only monday but the entire last two weeks. I’d call it more like cabin fever. Not for long though. The days are getting longer and sunnier. My disposition will change from grumpy to cheerful. My posts will begin to flow once more.
I’ve been busy backing up the content of my BLOG. It’s a painful process, and one that will make me change the way I write my posts. I’ll try writing in MS Word first, then pasting into WordPress; starting next time.
Six days, and counting, before the Avalon heads south.

Change. Really?

I don’t need to repeat all the quotes from Obama’s speeches on how he was going to change the process. I’m sure you have seen it on the news too many times already.

For those of you who really believed in his message, “can you hear me now?”  The real problem is that the brand of snake oil he fed you was too slippery to notice. Now, you are stuck with a dollar that might be enough to buy a pack of gum. Of course your company will give you  a raise to compensate for the loss of value in the dollar. Then, you  will be making over $250,000.00. Do you realize what that means? You’ll be subjected to the stupid taxes being imposed at a rate faster than a Ferrari on its way to 60 mph. 

Bottom line, “hope and change you can believe in” equals paying for all the free stuff you bought with your freedoms.

You will pay more taxes to pay for all the so-called free health care,

Your dollar will buy less because of all the spending he’s done on “free stuff”

You will have fewer decisions to make because some high paid government clerk will be making them for you.

Have a really nice time shoveling  the global warming  falling on  us today.

Moved to Tears

     Maybe it is because of global warming, but Peggy and I are suffering from cabin fever. The outside temperature when we wake up is usually under ten degrees. The last few mornings it has been under five degrees. We got comfortable with the last fifteen winters which were so warm. I even considered abandoning my vision of moving  South to a more  temperate climate. Old bones and joints do not accomodate very well to low temperatures. Daytime temps rise to the twenties, but the bottom line is that we spend a lot of our time indoors. Even though, our home is large enough for us to retreat to our favorite place to avoid each other, we still grate each other’s nerves at times. Cabin fever, that is what it is.

     This week, we ventured out into the cold to see a movie. We had heard several reviews on a film called “Blind Side” with Sandra Bullock, and a bunch of lesser known actors. The story didn’t have to be very good for me to trek through a raging blizzard to see a “hottie” actress in a movie. She is beautiful. I digress.

     The story behind this film is almost hard to believe. Yet, the film is based on a true story. I won’t try to review the film for you here, I’ll leave that to those who review movies. What I want to tell you, is that this movie evoked an emotion within that brought me to tears several times.  For the life of me, I cannot decide what did it, but it did. The characters were compelling, real people. The simple plot could not have been imagined by any author. The story is based on real facts.  

     I believe in angels, and this story is about angels that descend on a life that is the innocent result of the Nanny State.  The main character the angels descend upon is a black boy whose mother is a slave of the system. She wants the best for her kid, but doesn’t know how to make it happen. She is totally unable to make anything good happen for herself much less her many children. She asks a friend to help her oldest boy “Big Mike,” get into a church school.  The friend uses his talent to sell the coach of a highly respected private christian school to take the kid on. The coach does, and the story begins.  

     The angels are many. First, the mom’s friend,  the coach, then a teacher who recognizes the boy’s talents, and finally, a family with a strong mother who comes to his rescue. Sandra Bullock plays the mother. She is a hard charging designer with two kids of her own, and a husband that goes along with almost anything she wants.  The family becomes the angel-team that rescues “Big Mike” from the Nanny State, and nurtures him out of  ghetto slavery.

     This film is an honest to gosh real story based on real characters. Blind Side is Academy Award material. Sandra Bullock deserves Best Actress award. Actor Quinton Aaron, who plays Big Mike, should get Best Actor. Why? Because they made the characters believable, and real.

Blind Side deserves five stars. . . * * * * *

Pay the money, and go see it. You’ll be moved to tears just as I was. I also recommend  your kids see the  film too.

Bhutadarma

Nothing is impossible (at least that does not violate the laws of physics). When you can..violate the laws of physics!

I Know I Made You Smile

cartoons/humor/fiction/nonfiction

Attila Ovari

Loving Life and Inspiring Others

galesmind

Come take a journey through my mind

Nutsrok

The humor and humanity of storytelling.

Henry Game

The Next Testament

Gamintraveler

Travel Couple and Digital Nomads on a World Travel

summershaffer

A topnotch WordPress.com site

blogsense-by-barb

at the Re-Birth of America!

The Honking Goose

something to honk about

THE WAKING GIANT

United States Second Amendment Pitbull

Caustic Synergy

United and alone in the world

Aspiring Conservative

Conservative blog with articles about today's politics!

Conservative Kentucky

Reality From my Perspective

Hearing Aid News

HEAR it HERE first! The latest on developments in hearing aids and the hearing industry.

Socialism is not the Answer

Limited Government Is

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Just Cruisin 2

Where Intellectuals and Rednecks foregather.

allaboutlemon-All Around, In, And Out Of My Own Universe

Greed is an ugly default... Sharing is Caring

Nhan Fiction

"Hope is my catalyst."

prophetbrahmarishi

Just another WordPress.com site

NuVote Reach

Political Co-Dependency Intervention

The Baggage Handler

I made the impossible easy in both worlds!

David Emeron: Sonnets

If I swore not to describe my heart, would it stop beating forever?

silkroadcollector.me

An International company that offers private antique art sales to clients around the globe.