Monthly Archives: April 2018

Jitters and Calm

Not quite to day one yet and already feeling nervous. My biggest concern is the itinerary. There is so much to do along this route. And even though I’ve allowed two whole weeks to drive the 2400 miles, there is no way that I can predict in advance at what pace I must go to meet my modest daily goals.
Most days are around 200 miles. Some a little longer and others a tad shorter. Just driving that’s only about four hours. But with dozens of stops along the way the time can slip by quickly. Some of the stops are to take a picture. Or a quick look at the remains of an old building or neon sign. But other places are museums or national parks that require a significant amount of time to see correctly. The Grand Canyon for instance. Takes more than 15 minutes to take it in.
And trying to plan motel stops is also nerve wracking. I don’t want to end up somewhere with no place to stay, but don’t want to be committed to a reservation either. What to do?
You know what? I can toss the itinerary out the window any time I want. The only hard timetable destination I have is the airport in LA at the end of the road. What I do between Chicago and Santa Monica is whatever I want it to be. One visit to Route 66 may not be enough, but I’m gonna see it the best I can. In a way that makes me happy. It is after all a vacation and not a test of endurance!
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?
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Route 66

Get your kicks on Route 66! That’s the way the song goes. And the tv show followed two drifters in a corvette as they travelled the road in the early 1960’s. It’s an iconic piece of American history that took people westward from Chicago to Santa Monica, California from the 1920’s until the interstate system made it largely obsolete. But instead of dying, the road decayed, and attracted the attention of thousands of history buffs who make this pilgrimage.
I am the latest pilgrim, setting out next week for a two week long drive along the twenty four hundred mile trail. And you, dear reader, will be treated to all the details of this trip! Can’t wait!
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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Faces

He walks with a limp. Bent and stooped over he looks at the ground rather than straight ahead. With bowed legs and hips that curve to the left, his cane helps him to stand and move along.

That part I remember about him. He’s been like that for several years. But I was taken aback when I saw his face. Mouth sucked in. Cheeks seeming to drop off the side of his face. Almost puffy. Then I realized, he had no teeth! That was new.

When I was a child he had good teeth. Except the two front teeth on top, the ones that show the most. They were brown. He always said that was from being hit in the mouth by a rifle butt when he was in the army during World War Two. I guess that is true.

Then a couple of years ago I noticed that those two teeth had turned white. Dental whitening I thought. Lots of people whiten their teeth.

But the other day I took him to the dentist because his denture was hurting him. After the dental tech took him back to the chair the dentist came out to greet me. She said he’d been a patient of hers for a long time. The sign on her door read cosmetic oral surgery. Now I get it.

Turns out he has only two of his original teeth left. The rest are fake. And one of the originals needs to come out because it’s causing the denture pain. Damn, he’ll be down to one original.

Not like he’s thirty years old though. Not even forty. Or fifty. Hell, not even seventy or eighty. Nope, he’s ninety two years old. And still has one of his own teeth.

With his teeth in, in spite of his posture, he doesn’t look a day over eighty five. With the teeth out he looks like a cartoon character. Around the house he will leave them out. But when he goes out he puts in his teeth. He wants to look good for the ladies. And they all smile at him.

That’s my dad.

And that’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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The Bear

He was a big and hairy main. Bearlike through the eyes of a small child. And although he projected himself as a friend to children, in reality that was far form the truth.  He was a dentist.
The waiting room of his office was filled with Highlights magazines and LEGO’s. I enjoyed reading the magazines and the toys but when his wife, the nurse called me back to the examination room, fear and panic set in.
Sitting in the chair with my bib around my neck all I could see were the tools. Jackhammers and drills, picks and probes, all sharp and potentially painful. Then there was the novocaine syringe. At least a foot long. I knew it would be stuck in my jaw at least ten times.
I do not know if I was a bad patient or he was a sadistic dentist, but I always needed all of this treatment. Every time I walked in the door. I had more cavities than teeth!
When he began working in my mouth all I could pay any attention to was the hair on his fingers. Six fingers on each hand and every one the size of a hot dog. All of which was covered in hair and jammed in my mouth for hours.
As an adult I go to the dentist twice a year.  My teeth get cleaned.  And that’s all they need. A nice dental hygienist does a quick clean and polish. The dentist comes in and looks in my mouth, asks about the family and says he’ll see me next time.
I still don’t like going to the dentist. Memories of the bear cave are burned into my mind. But I go and my teeth are happy.
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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It’s Everywhere!

When you are looking for something you need it seems like it’s often impossible to find. Once you have it of course you see it everywhere. And at a much better price. You might call that extra cost a convenience fee. Or just bad timing.

A couple of weeks ago the weather warmed up and the grass started to grow. And with it, the weeds. So, OK I thought, lets get out the weed and feed and kill some weeds and fertilize that good old grass. One problem: I didn’t have either the weed and feed, or the spreader to put it out. Off to the hardware store.

The weed and feed was easy to find. A dozen different choices. This one fertilizes and kills 250 different weeds. This one fertilizes for three months and kills every weed but crabgrass. And so on.

But wouldn’t you know it. There was only one spreader on the shelf in the store! The guy working there said that the warm weather had brought out the gardeners and there had been a rush on the spreaders the day before. Just one left. And more than I wanted to pay. But I got it because I thought I just had to have it to get this job done right now.

Fast forward one week. I’m on a road trip exploring Georgia’s longest yard sale. Two hundred and forty miles of highway lined with countless yard sales. And guess what I saw everywhere!

The first time I saw a spreader I thought it was humorous. Ten bucks. And then it seemed like I saw one at every sale. It was probably a dozen or so, and every one was ten dollars. Some almost new. Now I feel stupid.

What makes it even worse is that this weekend I went to a big sale at one of the local antique malls. Spring clearance! Half of the dealers were slashing their prices. And one guy had a, yes, a fertilizer spreader! It was very out of place in an antique shop as it was rather new. I think it was just there because the universe wanted me to feel even worse. Or maybe I just imagined it.

I’m in the antique business. I live in antique stores, thrift stores and flea markets. The only things I buy new are eyeglasses and food! Why did I buy that spreader at the hardware store? Who knows?

I learn life’s lessons well. Because I learn the same one over and over. Maybe one day I’ll remember what I’ve learned. Right!

That’s part of my story. What’s yours?

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