Just call him Larry

Living by the 5W’s of analysis; who, what, when, where, why and sometimes how. This is a tale of “Who” was that and “How” did you know? If not for clarity this instance, they were good for a laugh.

Last summer I was driving around the community exploring new areas with snow birding relatives. Snow birds are people who travel south for warmth during the winter seasons. We entered an area where there are some remote residences on the edge of a scenic national forest. As we made our way enjoying the sights and visiting, we observed a man and woman couple doing yard work near their fence which bordered the public roadway. The Conversationalist who was our driver on this day pulled up alongside the couple and stopped, he rolled down his driver’s side window and engaged the man in conversation which he initiated.

“Hi Larry”, he said, “What are you doing today?’
Larry looked up and responded, “Oh Just cleaning up some lawn items. What are you doing? ”
“We are just doing some exploring. Do you live up here?”
“Why yes we have been here for over ten years now, are you thinking of buying up here?”
“No, we’re just looking around the beautiful area and spending some time this afternoon and I saw you here.”
“Yes, it’s a nice area we love it. Well, enjoy your day.”
“Ok, will do, see you later.”

As our driver rolled up his window I asked,
“Who is that?”
To this he responded, “I have no idea.”
Confused now I said, “But you started the conversation?”
“I thought it was Larry but it wasn’t so I just went with it. I guess his name is Larry too.”
To this all in the car burst out laughing. It was so hard not to yell, “Hey Larry, have a nice day.” as we drove past the couple again on our exit. Since then it has been a running joke and a favorite story to tell.

Now fast forward about one year and our snow birding relatives ventured south again. We decided to once again go for a drive and stopped at a favorite local diner for lunch. It is a busy place and we needed to wait for about fifteen minutes until a table opened up. As we waited standing outside, I was hugging my wife from behind enjoying her closeness and the sunshine on my back, when two women exited the cafe.

My actions drew their attention to us and they smiled saying; “We have left a table for you. They’ll be out to get you soon.”
Seeing that one held a book in her hands, the Conversationalist said;
“Well thank you. Did you finish your book?”
To this the woman replied; why yes, I have just finished. It was quite a project but I have just finished writing it. Thank you for asking.
“No problem”, and a smile appeared on his face.
“Do you mind if I share a small part of it? A prayer really.”
“No, not at all. Go ahead.”
To this the woman recited from memory about two minutes of narrative from her writing which ended with her giving each of us her blessing.

I determined that apparently the woman has a close relationship with God and wrote a book about it. I thought it very nice that she felt her closeness with God and was willing to share with us a blessing from her heart. But a question was forming in my mind. Soon we bade her farewell and she was on her way.

After she had left, seeking understanding, I asked; “How did you know she was writing a book?”
“I had no idea.”
With knitted brow I just looked at him for an explanation.
He had noticed the book in her hand. When he asked, “Did you finish your book?”, he had meant did you finish reading the book in her hand.

Again, we all burst out in laughter but we were grateful for the blessing given.
Someone wondered out loud, “Who was that woman?”
The Conversationalist responded; “She must be Larry’s Sister.”

Clip art compliments of Google.com

Mount Up and Ride

The weeks ending day has finally arrived. The fifth day was saved for a much needed ride. Of motor, of leather, of warm air and sun, all were part of the original plan. When a rider awakens and looks out to see dark clouds and moisture to threaten the plan. A check of the weather and what from the man but a forecast so low it includes certain snow with high wind to boot. Oh I don’t give a hoot, this simply won’t do, it’s just not a part of the adventurers plan.

What should be done when nature throws out a curve? Why lean inside and roll throttle regardless the steepness of turn. Add a new layer under the leather and zip it up tight cause adventure is awaiting for those who don’t weaken. So a man, a motor, and a furry side kick open the garage door and a kick stand comes up. Into the desert the swashbucklers ride.

Quail Creek it seems is a prevailing wind tunnel. Into its main jet stream the motor and her riders do roll. Like a Deep Purple lyric from days long ago, instead of the smoke, I see a red sandy cloud on the water below. Carried across on winds from the north, never once touching the surface below. Over the white caps it steadily moved looking like a daylight shadow certainly would.

A wind that moves snow storms away to the east releasing the sun to shine down on us all can cause storms of their very own making. Hidden inside the veil of a spinning red devil the Tumbleweeds roll pacing the motor on winds from behind. Yes, it’s a race for the centerline; who arrives first determines the pass, the quick to the left and slower the right. Sometimes the motor and others the Tumble but we didn’t cross paths which was really a wonder.

A motor runs well when temperatures are colder. A twist of the wrist when the next up kick is made, the goal is of merging at a high rate of speed. The pipes do scream as ponies release to thrust the bike forward and push rider back. The surge of adrenal and a smile that shines on the rider who chose to brave out the storm.

Fix it

There is an intrinsic reward in, “fixing it”. This is a simple Tale of a grill gone wrong but in the end all is made right. Broken things can be fixed and made right.

In our world of disposable everything the art of repair and the reward felt has been lost. As I watch our society continue to grapple with decline reflected in our collective sense of entitlement, demand of instant gratification, and “used won’t do” attitudes. I’m confident we can overcome financial frustration, foreign goods over dependence, supply chain delay, and a host of problems that go with it. How you might ask? Well in part by the simplest of techniques; don’t replace it, fix it!!!

I was raised by a man of immense talent. My father could do and/or fix anything. He came from that post Depression Greatest Generation Era where people made due and waste was unthinkable. In raising his family he passed on some of himself to his own. I’m proud to be one of those.

So as the Tale goes, my new little Bride told me recently that she had been gifted a new electric griddle some time earlier and after a single use she had accidentally thrown away the plug and temperature dial. Since then the griddle had sit unused.

Occasionally we have grandkids, friends, or relatives visit where a griddle would be of benefit. Now, here is where a choice was made. Reflecting my father I determined to put the griddle back into service and “Fix It.”

My first stop? You guessed it, wholesale parts on the internet. My frustration? I found I could buy new nearly every type of griddle known to mankind and have it shipped to the USA from nations of all points on Mother Earth. But to find a replacement control for an existing unit I owned; nearly impossible. Still, I pressed on continuing to evaluate my options and honestly total replacement was winning out in the available options listing. I just hadn’t pulled the trigger yet.

Then one day, I remembered a local thrift store. This is the type establishment that functions on public donation and specializes in training people for a needed workforce right here in our community. I thought to myself; “hadn’t I seen a whole section of donated used electric appliances there?” Surely if that be the case, they would have an extra control module available. I determined to check and stopped on my next trip past that store. What I found there was box after box of donated control modules for every type device built for the last fifty years. A short search rewarded me with a module I was confident would work based on appearance of the connection ends on the griddle itself. The price was a whopping three bucks!!! “Sold”, I thought to myself as I walked to the cashier.

Upon arriving home, I was actually excited and could hardly wait to see if I could fix the nonfunctional griddle with my three dollar purchase. It was a little like Christmas or the excitement of a new adventure. Ok, I admit it, I’m a bit quirky, but I could smell success and that had my attention.

I pulled the griddle out of deep storage and inserted the newly acquired control module which fit like a hand to glove. I plugged in the combination, turned the module to an “on” position and waited.

The result? The light came on immediately and held steady indicating power to the unit. For the next few moments I waited with a hand over cooking surface. Was it getting warm or was it my imagination? A minute later I knew for sure. Satisfaction was felt as the heat rose to the point where I needed to move my hand away, not long after that the control module clicked off when the desire temperature was achieved. Fixed and working like new!!!

With a great sense of accomplishment I said to my smiling little Bride. “What will it be Ma’am, Pancakes or Bacon and Eggs?”

“If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!” Red Green

The Orange Cup

Memories are made daily, some last a short time while others a life time. Those in the life time category usually involve loved ones that, because the memories are so long lasting, have departed this life but memory remains. This is a tale of the Orange Cup. Maybe you have one too?

This morning I rose early because the daily chores list was long and well this being December, the last month of the year, the daylight hours are short. So, I rose in cool darkness, walked to the kitchen intent on making a hot drink to start my day. I opened the cupboard door and reached to the second shelf where I keep an assortment of coffee cups and I think there isn’t a match in the whole darn set but I like it that way because each cup has a meaning and place in my heart. I peered into that second height shelf through squinted tired eyes and I saw an Orange Coffee Cup waiting for its next use. I picked it up by a familiar handle and held it in my hand. I suddenly zoomed back many years in my mind’s eye; I saw my father holding this very same cup, sitting in his chair, legs crossed, at our kitchen table in my childhood home drinking a cup of Joe. I kind of heard in my mind a familiar voice, “Good Morning Pard!!!”

A smile crept across my face and I knew from all of the possible cups to be had the selection was made. I would have a cup with my dad this morning.

I fixed a hot cup but not the same as my dad. I stirred in a tea spoon of Pero and a little more Honey ending the process with a quick little sniff. You know on a cool winter morning there are few things better that the smell of a steaming hot cup.

I held that Orange Cup in both hands where I felt the hot liquid inside. I returned to the warmth of my bed, crawled under the covers and drank my hot cup.

Thoughts returned to those childhood days when trouble seemed distant; I was protected and safe in every way. I had a clear picture of the man who made my world that way, sitting at a table that is now long gone, in a time far distant, but this cup that I drink from remains with me still. I suspect there are many who spent time in our home at reading this tale will have a similar image in clear focus now. I wonder at the stories they would tell.

My memories remain with me right to this day. I’m thankful for the home that my parents supplied and the life lessons, the experience, and the skills that were passed on to me. All of those memories and so much more; for I know where I come from and that is much of what makes me the man that I am.

So as I finish my cup, I think in my mind. “Good morning Pappy, we best get a move on!!!”