Leaving October

I thought I would leave October with a few funny stories.

On the lighter side of life!  

A doctor that had been seeing an 80-year-old woman for most of her life finally retired.  At her next checkup, the new doctor told her to bring a list of all the medicines that had been prescribed for her.  As the doctor was looking through these his
eyes grew wide as he realized Grandma had a prescription for birth control pills.
“Mrs. Smith, do you realize these are birth control pills?”
“Yes, they help me sleep at night.”
“Mrs. Smith, I assure you there is absolutely nothing in these that could possibly help you sleep!”
She reached out and patted the young doctor’s knee and said, “Yes, dear, I know that.  But every morning, I grind one up and mix it in the glass of orange juice that my 16-year-old Granddaughter drinks.  And believe me it definitely helps me sleep at night.”
You gotta love Grandmas!
 

 A man was riding on a full bus minding his own business when the gorgeous woman next to him started to breast-feed her baby.  The baby wouldn’t take it so she said, “Come on sweetie, eat it all up or I’ll have to give it to this nice man next to us.” 
Five minutes later the baby was still not feeding, so she said, “Come on, honey.  Take it or I’ll give it to this nice man here.”  A few minutes later the anxious man blurted out, “Come on kid.  Make up your mind!  I was supposed to get off four stops ago!” 

 Students in an advanced Biology class were taking their mid-term exam.  The last question was, ‘Name seven advantages of Mother’s Milk.’  The question was worth 70 points or none at all.  One student was hard put to think of seven advantages.  He wrote:
1) It is perfect formula for the child.
2) It provides immunity against several diseases.
3) It is always the right temperature.
4) It is inexpensive.
5) It bonds the child to mother and vice versa.
6) It is always available as needed
And then the student was stuck.  Finally, in desperation, just before the bell rang indicating the end of the test he wrote:
7) It comes in two attractive containers and it’s high enough off the ground where the cat can’t get it.
He got an A+.
  

A woman and her 12-year-old son were riding in a taxi in Detroit.  It was raining and all the prostitutes were standing under awnings.
“Mom,” said the boy, “what are all those women doing?”
“They’re waiting for their husbands to get off work,” she replied
The taxi driver turns around and says, “Geez lady, why don’t you tell him the truth?  They’re hookers, boy!  They have sex with men for money.”
The little boy’s eyes get wide and he says, “Is that true Mom?”
His mother, glaring hard at the driver, answers “Yes.”
After a few minutes the kid asks, “Mom, if those women have babies, what happens to them?”
She said, “Most of them become taxi drivers.”
  

An elderly, but hardy cattleman from Texas once told a young female neighbor that if she wanted to live a long life, the secret was to sprinkle a pinch of gunpowder on her oatmeal each morning.  She did this religiously and lived to the ripe old age of 103.  She left behind 14 children, 30 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, five great-great-grandchildren and a 40-foot HOLE where the crematorium used to be.

Enjoy the dark days of November!

Ghosts???

Last night I was awakened at 3:30 a.m. by my lovely wife. “Joe there is a clicking noise I hear and it is keeping me awake.” It took me several minutes to wake up and realize this was not a dream. Then as soon as I stood up at the side of the bed I needed to pee. I finally joined her wide awake to seek out the troubling noise. Before I began, however, I installed my hearing aids. I could have faked the whole search by keeping them hidden in the charger, but I would have felt guilty about it all day.

I quietly walked around the house looking for sources of possible noise. Is the refrigerator door open? No, is it the smoke detector? No, is it outside? Open the door and listen while feeling the cold breeze chill me, no. Room by room we traipsed listening for a noise. I heard nothing even with the aides turned up, Irena heard a faint sound coming from the second bedroom. I picked up the clock, nothing, I opened the window, nothing, I sat on the edge of the bed and listened calmly for a few seconds, nothing. After searching every room this way it was time to head into the basement. Again, I searched every source of possible noise, furnace, water softener, water meter, toilet pump, sump pump, back-up sump pump, nothing.

It was time to tell my story of being awakened several times by a horn that went off in my head in the middle of the night. Each time it happened at the same hour. I walked the house looking for the source of noise. In my case the sound was a dead ringer for the sump-pump backup horn. It is a battery operated pump and when it triggers it also sounds an alarm that sounds much like a siren. Each time I investigated for that noise but the house was silent, but I kept hearing it in my head. Another time, it sounded like water running through a pipe. That time, I actually went outside in the dead of night to see if I left the water running into the pond.

After that incident it occurred to me to put my fingers into my ears and to block out all external noise. The siren kept sounding in my head, and I concluded it was the tinnitus. I have experienced tinnitus, or continuous ringing in my ears for forty years, and I hear it now as I write this. I have become accustomed to the noise and forget about it, but I believe my brain is inventing a new way to get my attention. Most likely a similar thing is happening inside Irena’s head. Or, maybe, she heard Halloween ghosts creeping around the house.

We both calmed down after the fifteen minute shakedown of the house, and went back to sleep.

211031-Book Report

I don’t always write book reports, but today I feel that I must. I just finished John Grisham’s novel titled “Sooley.” It has been one of the most enjoyable reads of the year. Grisham does such a good job on this one I kept thinking it was a true story, and a biography at that. Sooley is a fictitious basketball player from Sudan, Africa. In the beginning he is a simple high school kid that is six foot two and growing. He lives a happy life with his father, mother and three siblings. He is noticed by a fellow Sudanese basketball scout and convinced to join a special team headed to a special tournament in the U.S.A. He is pushed by his family to go for it. Then the real story begins. This is a feel good story with a surprise ending that turns into more good feelings. I recommend all to read it.

I thought Grisham was over doing it by describing too many basketball games, but it was necessary to tell the story of a developing player who very much reminded me of Michael Jordan. I’m almost positive that Grisham used Jordan as the model for his character.

I couldn’t tell what the scout Ecko Lam saw in Sooley, but he believed in the kid’s potential and pushed hard to get him a break. It wasn’t long before the seventeen year old kid from a mud floored hut in Sudan was in an airplane on his way to America. The story will keep you reading to the very last sentence.

Trick or Treat of Yore

As a kid I couldn’t wait for Halloween to arrive. Many of my friends began trick or treating a full week before the actual day. I begged Mom to allow me to go out with my buddies after supper. I hounded until she finally relented. My masked buddies and I went door knocking. Most often we were met by very angry people who slammed the door in our face shouting “it is too early.” In spite of all the door slams we got some people who gladly dipped into their candy reserves and made us go away happy.

The amount of candy we generated was low in the advance week, and many reverted to pennies or nickels. The grumpy people made me grumpy and some of my buddies were downright irritated to the point of dreaming up some ridiculous tricks. I was too afraid to execute tricks for fear of facing Mom or worse Dad in the family court where instant justice was dispensed with sentences. The most severe sentence would have been losing trick or treat privileges on Halloween.

My group didn’t perform radical tricks like tipping outhouses (we didn’t have an outhouse to tip) or setting a brown paper bag filled with fecal matter at the front door, ringing the bell and running away to watch the grouch get his due. We did, more often than not, use a nice bar of soap to write messages on windows.

Another memory goes back to the Halloween Parade sponsored by the local public school playground. A thousand kids would line up and hold candle lighted pumpkins as we were led around the neighborhood sidewalks by a Witch holding a flaming torch for a one hour parade in the dark.

My town celebrated Halloween this morning at the Breidert Green parking lot. The event is sponsored by the police department as an attempt to keep kids off the streets during the dark hours of Halloween. It begins with a costume parade a block away from the green. They are led by a policeman to the green where they march around the parking lot. Organizations from town are parked with trunk side out and open with display of scary skeletons, ghosts, and witches, and hand out candy as the costumed kids parade by followed by their buggy pushing parents. The kids make a remarkable haul of goodies, My Lions club is one of the groups that participates in Trunk or Treat.

When I see how modern kids trick or treat I feel sorry for them. These poor creatures are being brainwashed into believing Halloween is a lesson in politeness and cordiality. Most of the cuties coming to the door do not speak yet, and when I ask them why they are bothering me they just stare up at me and look terrified. Eventually an older kid will finally shout out “trick or threat.” Most will answer “thank you” even though I have not yet moved toward the candy dish. When they finally and sheepishly say the words trick or treat, I ask them what kind of trick they will play on me to if I don’t pay their ransom. Again, I get the big sad beagle eyed look that tells me they don’t really know what the heck I am asking. All the while they are being observed by their parents from the sidewalk. Very untrusting parents actually don costumes and arrive at the door with their progeny, and coach the costumed kiddies on “what do you say?”

I look forward to the event tomorrow as I try to have as much fun as possible with the munchkins before they politely run away yelling thank you.

I recall my own kids going trick or treating. My dear wife would always buy them the latest costumes, but the weather always corrupted the event with rain, and cold. Barb would make the kids wear their winter coats and stuff them into the costumes so they looked like miniature Pillsbury Doughboys. It didn’t matter, they loved it.

You Have To Die From Something

I found this post in my drafts box from 2019. I decided it was still worth posting if for no other reason than to remind me and others what the early days of COVID-19 were like.

This morning was a feel good time. The Frankfort Lions, both masked, and socially distanced met at a member’s house to pick up food and gifts to distribute to the less fortunate of our community. I confirmed a very important point at the same time. COVID-19 affects hearing. I found myself moving closer to anyone speaking to me so I could hear what they were saying. Nine times out of ten the speaker would automatically lower his/her mask to talk. I appreciated the effort, but feared the outcome. The virus count in our Township is still above three hundred confirmed cases a day. That is a scary number as far as I am concerned, although it is not as scary as the 14,000 plus confirmed cases reported in Los Angeles County. That sounds like a guarantee for transmission among people.

We Can Always Use a Couple More Hands To Help

While standing around waiting for the members to disperse I spoke with a man who had recently had COVID-19. He is sixty-one years old, generally healthy, and very physically fit. His description of his virus encounter was by far scarier than the numbers I cited above. He had invited his family (he has six kids) to his home to meet his newest grandchild. His daughter who had the baby flew in from England to introduce her child to her grand-parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was a big joyous family gathering. The daughter and grandchild left to return, taking the grandmother with them. In his wife’s absence my friend came down with the virus. His caring wife was now three thousand miles away. All alone, he had to fend for himself. He described his symptoms as mainly fever, aches and pains and a general lack of energy. “I existed on soup,” he said, ” and lost thirty pounds in two weeks.” My mental acuity was down, and he explained that he now understands why people in nursing homes and the elderly succumb to the symptoms. “They don’t have the energy to fight the damn thing off, and are very tired so they let go.” He explained that there were days when he too was mentally very low and had little resistance to fight.

Yesterday, I met on Zoom with a couple of Lions, a Kiwanis members and members of AMAN (American Muslims Assisting Neighbors). The AMAN group is proposing that the Lions and Kiwanis facilitate a COVID-19 testing day in the Frankfort area. They promote a traveling team of licensed technicians who would come to Frankfort to test as many people as they can during eight hours. The service would be free to the people, (free as in insurance pays if you have insurance, or State assisted if you don’t.)

My first inclination was to frown upon the venture, but after hearing My Lion friend describe his experience with COVID-19 I am inclined to run with the program. The question I still have is what do we accomplish with testing? If you test negative you know that on the day you were tested you were virus free, but the moment after the test you can still contract the virus and succumb. If you test positive, it means you had better run to a health facility and get help. Many people with whom I have spoken have called their doctor after being exposed and were told “if your symptoms get worse go to a clinic.” In my friends case, the only help he could have gotten was from his wife and she was gone. He was too weak to drive by himself, and probably didn’t have the mental sharpness to call 911. A few people I know who have developed symptoms went to a doctor and were given a medication which helped them quickly and effectively.

I guess the one thing you get from testing is knowledge. Knowing you are a carrier means you must self quarantine and distance yourself from others. Knowing you are negative could mean you are very lucky, or you have been doing a good job of staying clear, and that you can still get it.

Every day I become more and more leery of taking chances, the odds of my getting the virus become greater, especially now that our community has an out break. Each time I get into this mindset I remember what my mother once told me, “you have to die from something.” None of us lives forever, (darn it) and again the odds in favor of my leaving Mother Earth are pretty good every day even if there was no COVID.

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