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Five Dollar Advice

When you’re unemployed you have to think of creative ways to make a little cash.  Lately I’ve been wheeling and dealing on the various selling sites on Facebook.  Basically every community has a “for sale” site where you post your wares:  those clothes that are too snug in the waistband, the mini food processor you’ve used twice in the last 15 years, your old tires, your velvet hanging of “THE KING” with the microphone cocked and his hips swiveled.

It works out good when the buyer actually follows through, shows up to buy the merchandise, and doesn’t try to haggle you down to a buck twenty five.  Recently I sold a little whatchamacallit and made arrangements with the buyer to meet in a parking lot of a fast food joint.  She’s waiting on me when I get there.  Nice lady, had a daughter with her about, oh 13 maybe?

We greet one another.  I’m happy to be making five bucks.

She stays  in the car, cigarette hanging out her windows, while her daughter hands me the cash.  I stand there leaning through the passenger car window  explaining how this contraption I just sold works.  Suddenly she interrupts me.

“I have to say something, and I hope you don’t get offended.”

Oh boy I thought, here it comes.  When someone starts a statement like that, you really never know what to expect.  I braced myself.

“You look so much better in person,”she said smiling a big toothed grin.

I couldn’t help but laugh.  Should I be offended?

“Ok, thank you?” I say not sure if this is a compliment or an insult.

She went on.

“I mean, really.  You look great. You look younger.  You look great.  I’m not even sure I would’ve recognized you.”

Her teenage daughter, experiencing one of many embarrassing moments that her mother will cause, looked over at her, earrings dangling to her shoulders and said, “Really, Mom?”

Obviously she was not concerned with how her deal of the day worked.  I handed over the five dollar buy convinced this sale was final.

As if I didn’t quite get the lady’s point, she continued. “I don’t know, you look great.   Maybe you should rethink your profile pic.”

Well I just had to laugh.  My favorite way to be complimented is when it’s rolled up in an insult.

I’m not insulted.  Actually, I’m thankful for her insight.  If I ever use one of those online dating sites, I’ll be sure to use my current profile pic.  That way  when I  meet face to face with my potential beau, they’ll be as blown away as this lady was.

I took my five bucks along with her smidgen of wisdom and hit the road.

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Posted in Stories by my dad

In Memory of my Dad #18—Happy Father’s Day!

Although a week late, here is a delightful Father’s Day tribute written by my late dad. Enjoy!

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A fellow that I know recently went home to West Texas and he can’t get over what his children did for him for Father’s Day, although it was Memorial Day.

It began with a surprise invitation.

His children, mostly grown, greeted him with guileful smiles and disclosed what was in store.  Even son No. 1 was there.  He had made an easy 11 hour and 40 minute drive from Houston, pulling a 17 foot Chris craft boat equipped with 120 HP motor.

“Dad, guess what?” said daughter No. 1.  “We’re going on a big outing and it’s all in your honor.”  The man gulped as the boys playfully cuffed him around, bloodying his nose.

“It’s true, Dad, anything you want to do, we’ll do.  Make it a huge Memorial Day/Father’s Day combination, since you’re not going to be here for Father’s Day,” chimed in daughter No. 2.

The young folks used this time to formulate plans, as the man looked around for an escape route that he knew was not there.

It was decided that Dad would get the biggest kick out of going to Lake McClellan, a small buffalo wallow of a lake that becomes a kinghell mess on any given holiday.  And this holiday would be worse than any.

“No use protesting, Dad,” said son No. 1.  “It’s all settled.”

The plan as outlined to this dude, was that he go down to the lake early and reserve a good spot, seeing as how there would be a crowd that you couldn’t fit into the Astrodome there on the morning of the 29th.

“Get a nice shady spot,” said son No. 2.  “Make sure you have a place for your folding chair, it’s your day.  Besides we need a place for a headquarters.”

Food!  What would Dad like most to eat on this day?  It was soon decided that hamburgers and ballpark hot dogs would suffice.  “Dad, are you writing this down?’ said daughter No. 1.  “We’ll need plenty of chili and chopped onions and melt some cheese to pour on just before the tabasco sauce.  You’ll want some fritos to crumble on top of that.  And oh yeah, dad, make sure the wieners are those big fat ones.”  Dessert would be double-stuffed oreos.

Dad said with the expensive drugs he was taking since his last stroke, and the small bit of progress he was making in his diet, maybe he shouldn’t.  But they stopped him right there.  “Make sure those are all beef franks, Dad.  If you can’t treat yourself on your own day, you’re going to ruin this for the rest of us.”

Dad apologized and said forget about him.  He would just have a small snack and then go on to the lake.  So Dad went to the lake early that morning, and purchased large quantities of food which he managed to unload in about six trips from the car to the headquarters table—all the while feeling very honored.

At about dark the children arrived, honking their horns and yelling ceremoniously and began unloading surprises—tape decks, loudspeakers, the neighbors’ kids and enough Black Sabbath and Pearl Jam to keep a Memorial Day concert going all night.

Next morning, everybody slept late in honor of Dad, who was allowed to fix breakfast for the whole company.  While clearing away the breakfast dishes, the young folks left to launch the boat.

“You just stay here and take it easy, Dad,” yelled No. 1 from the boat.  “We’ll feel out the water conditions.”  The feeling out was completed at noon.  All the kids returned famished from their feeling out.  While Dad cleared away the noon dishes, his children napped, tired out from honoring Dad so hard.

Then everyone went down and got into the boat, except for Dad.  “Give us a big push and then jump on.  Dad gave a mighty shove and then with a great leap landed knees first on the bow of the boat.  The boat never moved one inch from the bank.  The crunching sound practically made everyone sick as Dad rolled around there on the shores of Lake McClellan, bleeding profusely from both knees.

They were still yelling for him to get medical attention as they headed out to open water for an afternoon of water skiing.

“Dad, as soon as you can walk, have someone look at those knees.” 
“Dad, it doesn’t matter how you load my car, just be careful of those Pearl Jam tapes.”
“Dad, take it easy, and have a wonderful Father’s Day.”
But by then they were out of earshot, having done all that they could do.

They found him there in the late afternoon sun, both knees bandaged brightly, the blood just seeping through the bandages.  He was in a folding chair, head thrown back, sleeping in the thin sunlight.  He heard their voices as in a dream.

“Look at him.  He’s all worn out from all the fun.”
“Somebody get those flies away from his mouth.”
“I can’t wait until next year; it’s a lot of trouble, but Dad’s worth it.”

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In Memory of My Dad #10

written by Bob Briggs

I recently motored out to West Texas for the holidays.  I saw a bunch of old friends and made more than a few parties while visiting there on the Golden Spread.

One of the old friends I saw was Dave.  Dave was an old water well man and moon player, par excellence.  The only trouble was that you couldn’t tell which was his vocation and which was his avocation. 

I used to work for the guy, so I had more than a working relationship with the guy when he had a moon hand in front of him.  I think that Coy, a half mad guitar player is finally coming around to my way of thinking, after losing hundreds of dollars over the years to Dave.

When you live in West Texas, you’re a long way from big-city life.  If not in miles, then in a state of mind.  One day during a lull in the moon playing, Dave related this story to me.

It seems that years ago, when dinosaurs still ruled the earth, Dave was a pretty good cowboy.  But that was in the years when Dave was a lot younger.  Before he traded his string of rough stock for the spanner wrench and shop hammer. 

Old habits die hard, so when Dave gets all shined up to go somewhere, be it a country dance or a neighbor’s barbecue, he still dresses western.  Big Hat.  Lace up roper boot (cause they’re easier on the feet.)  Trophy buckle from one of those “punkin rollins”.  Like I say, Dave used to be a pretty classy cowboy.

Dave went to the Veterans Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico last summer to have RK surgery done on his good eye.  Dave only has one eye, so how he was going to get back to Pampa never entered his mind, seeing as how his roommate and best pal Nancy stayed home to work the first shift at Sandy’s Bar.

The first shift runs from around eight in the morning until one or two in the afternoon, due to the influx of shift workers that come in for an early morning beer.   Eight a.m. is early evening for many of the Celanese, Cabot, Ingersol Rand or MapCo workers there in the Panhandle of Texas.  Things tend to get pretty lively in the saloons about noon, especially if some fo the pulling unit hands are off that day and decide to spend the day shooting pool instead of mowing the lawn or some other honey-do chore.

Anyway Dave stayed there at the VA hospital for three days, when for lack of a better word, they unwrapped his eyeball.  Things were still pretty fuzzy from Dave’s side of the eyeball, so they decided that he should stay for the weekend.

Dave had a great-nephew stationed at Ft. Collins, Colorado.  So Dave got the doctor’s permission to fly up and see him that weekend.  “It was one of those little puddle jumpin’ airplanes,” recalled Dave.  So the first stop was in Colorado Springs, where the passengers had a twenty-minute layover.  So Dave got himself a carton of chocolate milk and a six-pack of Fig Newtons for a snack.

Dave then went to sit at a table already occupied by a businessman dressed just like Tom Bosley, reading a Wall Street Journal through a little pair of half glasses perched on the end of this nose.  Dave took little notice of the peculiar look that Tom gave him as he opened the Fig Newtons and scarfed one down.

Tom immediately reached over and got one of the cookies for himself.  Dave didn’t say anything, just thought, “strange custom” and went about eyeballing the fellow travelers as best that he could with the bum eye.

Dave then ate another Fig Newton this time noticing that Tom all but snarled as he quickly put another Fig Newton in his gaping maw.  “Must be some sort of practice that we don’t do down on the plains,” thought Dave eating the third of the Fig Newtons and pushing the remaining one across the table to Tom who was glaring openly at Dave now.  Tom took the third of the Fig Newtons and walked away all the time muttering to himself. 

“Well hell”, thought Dave, “no one in Pampa would think of eating one of your Fig Newtons without asking, and never without saying thanks.” 

Dave shrugged his shoulders and made his way to where they were boarding the plane. 

As he felt in his inner coat pocket for his ticket, Dave found an unopened six-pack of Fig Newtons.

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Hoppy Easter!

The Easter Bunny Gets A Rude Awakening - Easter pictures Easter humor Easter jokes Easter cartoons

Easter

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This is a truly touching story–perfect for Easter–about two brothers who were separated at birth.

It’s the story of one brother’s search for the other.

It’s a story of life and death.

And it has a cruel twist of fate.

Still, it is certain to stir your heart and touch your soul.
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I hope you had a wonderful, blessed Easter.