Category Archives: break time

Famous T. V. Dads

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Famous television fathers were quite conventional, sometimes filling

current stereotypes, but they usually seemed above normal in their

tolerance and patience. We were talking at Friday’s midpoint mark, in

the breakroom about how we may have formed misconceptions about

the way dads should act from watching these early family shows. After

all, most of us did not have traditional fathers, who would go to work in

suits and ties, come in cheerful, pull out a newspaper and quietly unwind.

I am sure my father wished he could have been ‘so lucky!’

My family consisted of two bread-winners and the three of us children,

were often in the winter months the last ones picked up at our baby-

sitter’s house. I remember looking out of Mrs. Boos’ picture window

into the darkness, wondering which day it was that Mom was doing her

oracle debates, drama or Spanish club meetings? I would sigh with an

almost exasperated ‘whoosh!’ when I finally saw her station wagon’s

headlights in the driveway. Mrs. Boos had two sons who played with my

brothers, occasionally I would join in or get a chance to sit on Diana’s

bed, her teenaged daughter and look at pictures of the Beatles or the

Dave Clark Five, or sometimes there would be magazines full of fashion

and hairstyles. My Mom was pleased when Diana went to Kent State

University and invited me to spend “Siblings Weekend,” as Diana’s baby

‘sister,’ Robin.

When we got home, my Dad, usually, would be home shortly, pulling off

his tie, after he took off his jacket, asking what he needed to do to ‘pitch

in.’ Spoiled me, made me think all fathers were like this. Today, Saturday,

June 14th, 2014, they had on the CBS Morning Show, a segment on the

percentage of fathers in the fifties, sixties and seventies that helped out

in child-rearing responsibilities. Sadly, they still said in the more recent

years the percentage of household responsibilities, even with working

moms being in the majority, it is still not a 50/50 deal.

Anyway, Melvin’s Mom and Dad were more like my parents, sharing the

chores and also, enjoying family times together. He admitted most of

his African American friends had either a limited amount of fatherly

involvement or none.

Tammy said that her mother had stayed home, whenever she would ask

for help inside the house, her father was quick to remind her, “You don’t

work.” She was dismayed at this behavior, remembering, even as a young

girl in her imagination, “I won’t stand for this in my adult life!” (Tammy

and Mike have been friends since childhood, “fence post buddies,” but have

never tied the knot.) She certainly is open that she doesn’t even have a

joint account with Mike, they just split the bills and love each other. She

is an independent woman, almost the ‘polar opposite’ from the parents

she dearly loves.

Trevinal said his parents are more together now, but in his childhood his

father sounded like my first husband, wished for dinner on the table,

kids cleaned up and early to bed, and lots of time watching his favorite

sports shows on television. There is a whole different love that he and his

wife share, more understanding and encouragement. He is so ‘blessed,’

he says to have someone who believed in his ability to think. The family

cannot believe that he is in Nursing School, working fulltime to pay his

bills and rising far above the expectations of Special Education. He feels

that by meeting the ‘right’ woman to share his life is a ‘daily blessing.’

His being in his thirties, reminds me of my own son, and I also remind

him of my belief in his ability to be a good father, when the time comes.

Here are the above persons’ and other coworkers, along with family

members who have cited some excellent, funny and different television

situational comedies for “Best Examples of Television Fathers:”

1.  My favorite father of all time, is from the show, “My Three Sons.” This

show allowed a non-traditional father, in amongst the ‘drones’ that I

found on other television shows. The combined household of widower,

played by Fred McMurray, his brother, who was the boys’ Uncle Charlie,

and the three rowdy boys always made me admire the patience, fortitude

and compassion showing what I considered “true family values.”

 

That is not to say, I didn’t laugh at the antics of Dick Van Dyke, Danny Thomas,

John Forsythe  (“Bachelor Father”) or Brian Keith (“Family Affair.”) I also liked

“The Ozzie and Harriet Show,” an almost first time reality show, since the family

was played by actual family members. I liked the sense of humor and the handsome

boys in this one! (Diana, my babysitter’s daughter, also had a few articles in her

teen magazines which featured the Nelson boys, especially the “cute” Ricky!

 

2.  Hugh Beaumont, who played the Dad on “Leave It to Beaver,” was the one

that my coworker, Mark, listed as his favorite. The different ways that influenced

his choice was first he liked that Beaver’s mother wore an apron, like his mother

did, daily. Also, that the father character hardly ever yelled, even under stressful

times.

3.  Tammy said the whole family in her household liked, “The Danny Thomas

Show.” I still like that Marlo Thomas was an independent woman, not hurrying

into marriage until she fell in love, in real life, with the talk show host, Phil

Donahue. I also personally enjoyed the fact she is a columnist in my “AARP

Magazine.” Tammy said she liked Danny Thomas, since he presented a few

shows, mentioning different cultures. I would have to check this out, but do

support and believe in St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Marlo has said that she

got her Dad’s slightly sarcastic sense of humor, which carries her through

tough times.

4.  Trevinal still remembers almost every show that “Family Matters” had

on television. He has found this to calm him, looking at Urkel’s silly dress

code, high water pants and his often expressed question, “Did I do that?”

The sense of humor and the family were something he admired and felt

that Urkel’s character was one that gave him confidence when he made

mistakes, throughout many of his years,  in life.

Trevinal’s words are very powerful, expressing this to me:

“Whenever Urkel goofed up, people would roll their eyes, sometimes

bellow at him, but always forgive him. That is how I wish to be when I

am a father.”

Reginald VelJohnson, who played the father in “Family Matters,” is

in one of my youngest daughter’s favorite shows, “Hart of Dixie.”

(Rachel Bilson and Tim Matheson play doctors on that country

setting show.)

Trevinal also noted that Urkel was a neighbor,  the family next door’s kid,

but he became part of the family and included, whether wanted there or not,

anyway.

5.  Keith told me, laughing, while lifting a box in the aerosol room, in what we

call the “Bomb Shelter,” that his favorite father character was Archie Bunker.

That show was called, “All in the Family,” where all sorts of issues popped up,

Archie sticking his neck out, saying all kinds of bigoted or prejudiced comments,

but usually backing down on them. Meeting people of all ethnicities, while they

were in an urban setting, with his wife being accepting, his daughter also very

open minded and often, Rob Reiner, playing “Meathead,” took the brunt of

Archie’s anger. I asked why he thought of this character? He told me, a little

bit sheepishly, that his own father was ‘backwards’ and ‘ignorant’ like Archie

had been. This made him become aware that there were other perspectives

on people. I appreciated Keith’s candor. He also added his parents were from

Kentucky! He added this with a laugh, like that explained everything!

He also said he respected the actor, Carroll O’Connor,  who had gone on to

play a cop, with a black partner, in the show, “The Heat of the Night.”

6.  My son, James, joked that he liked Homer Simpson, for the same reason

that Keith liked Archie Bunker. He said they were the ‘opposite of everything

he hoped for in a father.’ He also said that making mistakes for Homer, making

poor judgments, did make him feel more comfortable in his own parenting

skills.

7.  My oldest daughter said she liked Patrick Duffy, in the show, “Step by Step.”

She had a crush on him, from early days of watching, “Dallas,” and also had

a young ‘crush’ on Cody, the cousin who lives in a van in the driveway on this

sit-com. I liked it because Suzanne Somers was a hairdresser, average single

mother, who found a man with children to marry. I think the idea of stepkids,

appealed to me, also in ‘The Brady Bunch.”

When I mentioned my oldest daughter’s opinion, the men still were ‘hooting’

and ‘hollering,’ in a playful manner. They said she ‘made’ the show, “Three’s

Company,” and still looks great to this day.

8.  No one named, “Father Knows Best,” but all cited this as their 2nd and 3rd

choice of Best Television Father.

9. Charlene, whose young son, Ian, was in on my ‘Opinion Poll’ on Thursday,

had said she loved, “Wonder Years.” Since the mother character is on our

favorite soap opera, (Allie Mills), she remembered to point out she is good in

“The Bold and the Beautiful.” She also mentioned that the Dad on “Wonder

Years,” had to tackle difficult teen subject matter, since the boys grow up on

that show, from junior high through high school. I have to check out the dates,

be back to tell you the years: 1988 until 1993. The father’s character was

played by Dan Lauria. The couple who ended up taking the show into the

more mature theme included Danica McKellar and Fred Savage as “Winnie

Cooper,” and the kid next door, “Kevin Arnold.” In the Arnold family, the

mother stays home while the father worked. An interesting fact that I found

out was, Danica’s sister could have won the part of “Winnie,” the directors

say it was a ‘toss up’ between Danica and Crystal McKellar.

10. My mother loved the shows with Bill Bixby, including his role in “My

Favorite Martian” and “The Hulk.” But when I would come home from

junior high and high school, I would have the lights off, my Mom sitting

on one end of the sofa with her feet up on an ottoman, watching, “The

Courtship of Eddie’s Father.” When I overheard that song on the radio

and recently, on a commercial, I would almost “tear up.” Mom was much

more tired when I was that age, she would not volunteer to be coaches,

helpers or club counselors at Westlake High School. She would be the

chaperone, with my Dad by her side, for dances. That was as much energy

as she could ‘wrangle up,’ in her forties. I love Harry Nilsson’s song, the

memory of her sometimes lightly snoring, until the song would play

and she would sit up, watch and share those moments. My one brother

would be in track, (Spring), water boy in basketball, (Winter) or in

Cross Country, (Fall). This was ‘our time.’ The song began with these

words: “Let me tell you about my best friend,…” (The song includes

the father saying, “My pride and joy.”)

By the way, the jingles or songs for television would make an excellent

memorable post. When we were noticing the songs, we all agreed that

the piano playing and the off-key singing by Edith Bunker, played by

Jean Stapleton, was iconic: “Those Were the Days.”

That “Wonder Years” song, “I Get By With a Little Help From MyFriends,”

is legendary. We were nostalgic, reminiscent of family shows when there

weren’t as many choices on television and everyone’s family gathered together

to watch the shows. Even the commercials were memorable.

10.  The last contributor to this post on television fathers was my youngest

daughter’s suggestion of “Little House on the Prairie.” She enjoyed the setting

out West, through tough times, settling and learning how to live as a family

in a different time period had intrigued her.

She grew up watching this in reruns on Nickelodeon. This television

dramatic series ran from 1974 until 1983. (She was born in 1985.)

She reminded me that she read most of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books,

after I introduced them to her. She felt Michael Landon portrayed a

very charismatic and dynamic father. I am happy that she remembered

him in this role. (His personal life, somewhat like the much admired

Bing Crosby; left much to be desired. I feel the same about Eric Clapton,

Robin Williams and Bill Cosby. Troubled, but still admired for their

personal talents and  the ‘body of their works.’)

What was your favorite television father?

One Who Served and Many Who Serve

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Today, May 21, 2014 is a day set aside for “Wait Staff Apreciation.”

By celebrating servers in the food industry we may improve their

self images and produce great service. It is always a wise choice

to be friendly to the ones, going in the kitchen to pick up your food

orders! Smile!

So, please appreciate all those men and women who try valiantly to fill

your food orders. They do, most of the time, try to act pleasantly and

give you time to look over the menu!

Tomorrow, is a day to remember Mr. Rogers. Fred started his long run of

being a kind neighbor to the younger ones in our world, back on May 22,

1967. Now, Wikipedia doesn’t have the correct date, as I found this in a

reliable source!

His show, “Mister Roger’s Neighborhood,” continued until 2001. Fred

passed away in 2003. In his lifetime, he received the Presidential

Medal of Honor, over 40 other special awards and the Peabody Award.

I felt Fred’s gentle soul, soft spoken ways, his daily routines were

quite soothing and comforting to my toddler children. I realize that

these days, with high technology and such fast-paced lives, most of

the small ones would find his show, “Boring!” I liked his changing

his jacket into a sweater, his puppets in the Land of Make Believe

and his male role model in a society, that even when my children

were little, did not have many male adults on television that tried

to ‘reach them.’

Another man who served his country well, is my good friend and coworker,

Melvin. He was walking out of the building today, telling me a funny

story about the Jack Russell terrier that lives next door to him, out

in Delaware County. It was a great one, where I wished (and he does, too)

that he could have captured this on film!

The story of his neighbor’s dog, “Ignat” is interesting and such an

amazing story that you may not quite believe it. I would not, if I

didn’t know this fine man, Melvin, who served his country from 1975

until 1997. His Army days have been fun to listen to, including his

serving in Germany, (maybe you remember he bought me a special wine

that they serve on the streets of Germany, warmed up in little cups

for the shoppers at Christmas?) You may remember his annual trips to

meet his Army buddies and the time he paid for a bunch of them to

have lobsters and crabs in Massachusetts. Also, he is the man who I

‘chase’ and he ‘chases’ me, around the area on the second floor of

our warehouse, called the Mezzanine.

Before you ask, ‘Why aren’t you thinking about Melvin as a future partner,

Robin?’ I will tell you that he is a very devoted boyfriend and lives

with a woman who has had serious surgery, sometimes he has cleaned out

colostomy bags or helped bathe her.

The best parts of Melvin, are his incredible patience and heart!

Oh, and having served as a cook, he is an outstanding guest at our work

potlucks! Melvin is getting geared up to be the caterer of a good pal’s

daughter’s high school graduation. He was out, recently, pricing pork.

I may or may not have told you, a weird thing is, most places don’t

keep the skin on the pig! So, he had a ‘heck’ of a time locating one

that he could put on a pit!

Another part of my ‘verification’ of his abilities to not only work hard;

but be truthful is that he has always ‘called them like he sees them,’ no

matter what. In any conversation, whether it is about “Duck Dynasty,”

musical tastes or whether or not he likes a certain movie or song, he

will impart his ‘wisdom.’ I sometimes will include him in my ‘lunch time’

survey of opinions to include in my stories about work.

Anyway, Melvin was out in the yard, looking around the barn where he had

seen a large, lumbering raccoon go into. He also was looking out at the

field, where he had just seen a young doe. He was smiling, while recounting

about seeing the white tail bobbing up and down, as it leaped over some of

the remains of weeds that had grown up in the neighboring farmer’s fields.

He says, that he shouted to “Ignat” (possibly the shortened name for

Ignatious?) We cannot figure out why this dog has this name and Melvin

is sure of it, since he has bent down to feed him a dog biscuit and

read the little brass circle that holds his name. Melvin calls him

“Little Big Man,” in remembrance of Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of a

wizened, stooped version of a Native American and why that makes him

think of that, I am not sure…

Anyway, I digress again!

Back to the rest of Melvin’s story, he whistled to the neighbor’s

roaming dog, and he would not come to him. He was gazing off into the

distance at the doe, sure enough, there was a blurring motion of the

dog, as it took chase after the doe. Melvin says that they would go

‘aways,’ the dog’s energy would start to wane, and “Ignat” would slow

down. The doe, he insists, would slow down to ‘wait’ for the dog to

catch his breath. Melvin insists that the doe even stopped from entering

the nearby woods, turning her direction to head a different direction!

“Ignat” would then zigzag and head off, speeding up to catch the doe!

Melvin says he would ‘swear on a Bible’ that this was a true incident!

When he got tired of seeing if “Ignat” would catch the doe, he looked

up at the window of his barn and lo and behold!

Another ‘minor miracle’ occurred!

Melvin saw four little baby raccoons with their tiny little paws up

on the window pane! He did not see that for too long, since the Mama

Raccoon must have ‘shooed them away from the window.’

“Melvin, are you sure, double sure, that you aren’t pulling my leg

now?”

He repeated the part about ‘swearing on the Bible.’

Wasn’t this more than enough to entertain me,

and you, today?

Opinions

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Sometimes, there are lots of opinions flying about our break

room at work. The ones that when we were growing up, we

were taught to not bring up in social settings, seem to

catch my attention more. You know, like you are spying or

catching a glimpse of someone, sometimes a side you would

not expect.

At home, those who have read a few of my past articles or

posts, you may remember my parents were very open-minded.

We, essentially, at the dinner table talked about all kinds

of things considered, ‘inappropriate.’ My Mom’s high school

students had prepared her, from the fifties through the

eighties, to handle those three subjects one could think about

but, never, ever bring up. We had “guess who’s coming to dinner,”

literally including students from her school, my brothers and my

friends and neighbors, too.

I tended to ‘echo’ this pattern, while a single mother, raising

my three children. We had guests often, we did not limit our

conversation subject matter, (unless someone got ‘squeamish’ or

asked that the subject be ‘squashed.’)

Both my parents helped to make me a more relatable parent. This

meant I did the same thing, let the children have their ‘voice’

and forget about that old, antiquated philosophy,

“Children should be seen and not heard.”

In our country, when you start talking about the three subjects

most consider ‘touchy,’ the general population list: sex,

politics and religion.

I heard it expressed many times before at friends’ and my

ex-husband’s, “We don’t talk about those subjects in ‘mixed

company.'” One of my best girlfriends, who had a mother who

resembled, Donna Reed, wore an actual full, ruffly apron while

she prepared dinner. One time while I was helping set the

table, my friend’s brother started to talk about what was

called, “Sex Ed.” We were in middle school and he was in high

school. Susan’s mother said,

“Jeff, we don’t talk about those things at home! It is not

nice!”

(Wow! Wonder what that did to his sexual performance, later

in life? Thinking the subject matter was not only ‘taboo’

from discussion but it was, “not nice!”)

I also have heard the familiar expression, “Who opened this

can of worms?”

I was thinking today, of a light hearted post, where people

from around the world, would respond with their ‘off limit’

subjects and also, what it is called when you wander into a

controversial subject. There must be a wide variety of ways

that this is expressed!

I hope that posing this open-ended response won’t start

something!

Just wondered, what did your family consider too personal to

talk about?

What does that mean: ‘in mixed company?’

Was that to refer to men could talk about certain things,

which women’s ‘pretty little minds needn’t worry about?’

I think my Grandma once told me,

“That’s not lady-like to say, Robin.”

Laughing my way through, what some people call, ‘hump day!’

Patience

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Many songs, poems and essays have been written on the

subject of patience. I will not try to make this a

witty commentary nor a play on words. I have just

a few people that have been getting on my nerves

lately. I need a little patience!

I have to laugh, because this week we had a small

family gathering for my five year old grandson’s

birthday. I went there after dinner, around 7:30,

to be part of the festivities. My oldest daughter

is the one who has had theme parties for all 9

years of my oldest grandson. This year, she and

her partner, Mike, had taken the weekend to spend

time with both my oldest and youngest grandsons.

This was a ‘cake only’ and ‘gifts optional’ fun

time.

While waiting for the kids to run off some of

their steam before settling down to watch gifts

being opened and cake to savor, some of us were

sitting on the living room set. We were relaxing

and suddenly Micah ran into the living room,

turned around to find his recent ‘shadow,’ Kyah

behind him (age 3 on March 3). He looked very

exasperated at her and said, which stopped the

flow of our adult conversation, loudly:

“Stop following me! You are annoying me!”

It takes almost every ounce of my ‘being’ not to

laugh out loud at such things, while my serious

daughter scolded him,

“That’s not a nice way to talk to your cousin!”

I raised my eyebrows at my son, who also smiled

back at me. He knows what it is like to be one

of the only boys! (He has an older sister, had a

single mother (‘moi!’) while growing up and has a

younger sister!)

This is rolling into the ‘same old/same old’ stuff

that I am mainly wanting to write about. The way

some people are annoying. At work, in lines, in

public restrooms, to name a few places where I

have been showing a little irritability.

Yes, me!

There are numerous comments at work about our

limited hours, during the winter. I think the

ten to twelve hours we work during the summer,

in the hottest place I have ever worked, brings

home a lot of extra cash, which I save for when

we have our slower periods. We have had slow

months of January and February this year. It

may continue into March.

I get tired of the pleasant lines I deliver to

those who are ‘broke’ and complaining:

1. “Soon enough, we will be super busy and will

wish for some ‘down time!'”

2. “I try to save money from those big checks we

get in the warm months, from April or May up until

last November. It seems that we have less months

to rest up each year!”

3. “I am happy that we will soon have our income

tax refunds, do you declare 0 dependents?”

My cheery self, has been beat down and worn out on

the weather complaints. I mean, I was raised in the

cold northern part of Ohio! I did not mind 6- 12″

of snow as a child, try to see the fun, beauty and

enjoy the walks through the snow.

I especially love the way the stars seem so much

brighter at night and the daytime skies seem so

brilliantly aqua, turquoise and azure! The sunrises,

as I head to work, and the sunsets, as I leave the

library, are so awesome and thrilling.

But my good mood balloon ‘gets deflated’ and I am

dragging it behind me, on such subjects as money

and weather come up these days.

The other people who ‘get my goat’ are the ones

who have been going on and on, over Obamacare. I

have been studying and listening to this subject

without too much to say one way or another. It is

decided, now live with it!

The ones who are complaining are also telling me

that their grandchildren were born with no billing,

due to no marriage license or no insurance. I would

like to tell them, “No more free rides!” Wouldn’t

that shock them? Would everyone stop talking to me?

Sometimes, I want to be the grumpy one! But I am

NOT!

There is a woman, who at work, I have called the

“Queen Bee.” I have written about her awhile back.

Anyway, her new way of irritating me, is that she

volunteered to serve on the Safety Committee at

work. This means, she is allowed to carry around a

little pad of paper, stop you and ask you,

“Do you have any new safety concerns?”

I have given her the ones, like the Exit that was

closed, so in case of Fire, there was no Exit for

me to leave quickly and safely in the most flammable

area of the building. This got fixed, due to my

saying something, but tell her that she needs to

keep an eye on the heavy items and having them

moved from the top shelf. These are all that I

have been able to come up with. She came by, for

the second time this week, “Miss Chatty Cathy,”

and the “Queen Bee.” I do not directly let her

know my emotional uproar that shouts inside my

head when she bothers me, while I am trying to

make a good pace or ‘rate’ which is daily

measured.

When she interrupted my counting out 24 of these

items that usually are stocked in handy dandy

boxes of 12, so plunk, plunk, and two drops of

those boxes and I am done. Nope, I had to re-count

the 24. Already mad at the stockers who unpacked

and dumped these into bin boxes!

I take a deep breath and greet her by name. Oh

yes, I am using a pleasant voice.

“Tomorrow is the Safety Committee meeting at 6

a.m. and I won’t have time to ask you before I

head off to this, what are your concerns this

month?”

“Authority positions are a dangerous way to go

with certain personality types,” I think.

“If I don’t give her any ideas for the meeting,

maybe she won’t bother me next month,” I also

think. 23, 24!”

Out loud I tell her that I appreciate her waiting

for me to count the products that should have

been kept in their boxes of twelve. She nods

politely. This is, after all, ‘not her territory.’

She is one who works in the Mezzanine, where I

only have to deal with her once a week, except

on these occasions. I do want to say, she circles

round our table at lunch time but with the Force

of Four:

Tammy, Trevinal, Robin and Peggy, we all give her

a glare, pointedly staring at “The Price

is Right Show,” and she usually walks away from

our table.

This all takes willpower.

It is not a ‘pretty side of me,’ I admit.

The one who doesn’t want to cooperate with the

one who made me cry, seems like ages ago, due

to her rudeness.

She is also the one who drove my friend, Cheryl,

at work, to ram a cart into her. Fortunately,

Cheryl could honestly name a few people in that

area, who saw the “Queen Bee” ram her cart first

into hers.

“She did it first!”

So, I look at the woman who sometimes yanks my

chains and tell her…

“No safety concerns at this time.”

I didn’t fold nor flinch. I delivered my line in

such a ‘don’t mess with me’ tone, she walked

away.

Just as she walked away, I thought of the movie,

“Bambi,” a classic animated film, 1942.

Where Thumper got a lecture from his father, then

he used a re-phrasing of it to Bambi:

“If you can’t say something nice,

don’t say nothin’ at all.”

(Of course, the original parental speech would have

been, “If you don’t have something nice to say,

then don’t say anything at all.”)

The Cost of Silence

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While at lunch today, I overheard someone saying they

liked the show, “Duck Dynasty.” I turned and asked,

“Have you heard any of the controversy that is now

being associated with one of the show’s members?”

Phil Robertson was quoted in “GQ” magazine. There is

a rather long, extensive strange set of sentences

attributed to him, including lewd acts, black workers

in Louisiana not ‘seeming unhappy in their plight,’

and a list of many sinners not going to be accepted

into Heaven. He felt he was quoting the Bible, and

the cast (the Robertson family) have rallied, along

with some public figures. The Arts and Entertainment

(A & E) channel has asked Phil to refrain from being

in the show, also separating themselves from his belief

statements.

It made me pause and think, “Do you really want to get

into this while eating?” This took me back in time, to

a very

important conversation, that became a lecture, in my

childhood. One of my brothers said something rather

questionable, repeating what he had heard from a friend

in elementary school. While at the dining room table,

my parents looked at each other and my Dad said to Mom,

“You’re up! Go ahead and take the podium!”

My mother told us that while teaching in the sixties,

there were many ‘nice’ teachers who did not understand

why ‘some people’ were making a big deal about buses,

water fountains and equality? In other words, ‘why rock

the boat?’ She went on to tell us that she decided to

explain her thoughts in a short summary of why she felt

as a teacher she needed to ‘take a stand’ and call some

actions, “unfair treatment.”

Mom went on to say she decided to wait and then, listen

to hear how future teachers’ lounge conversations sounded.

In a short time after that, similar comments and even some

were directed at what at that time were called the ‘Negro

students.’

From that day until she retired, my mother ate her lunch in

her classroom. Some of her teaching peers joined her, some

asked her to come to their room, to take turns. One of those

men, the theater and drama coach, still writes to my Mom.

They were the ‘radicals’ on the forefront of the New

Frontier.

She felt that was not the only negative time that teachers

were handling or ‘talking about students in a less than

positive way.’ Mom felt and to this day, feels, it is

“gossiping.”

My Mom did not feel, in her situation, high school teachers

should act this way and showing disrespect of individual

students. She gave us a powerful and memorable message:

“If you sit in silence, then you are just as bad as the

perpetrator of unkind thoughts. You are in ‘collusion’

and your silence is a ‘tacit agreement with the biased,

prejudicial thoughts.”

This has led me into leaving a restaurant on M. L. King, Jr.

Day when someone made a racist remark. I had the hostess

tell the person I left, when the taxi came to get me.

This led me to tell my friends at lunch, a few months back,

(I wrote a post about it) that if Paula Deen’s beautiful

product line of crockery, linens, pots and pans is all on

sale for below market value, she has her own self to blame.

Today, it got me telling a table of men, who probably enjoy

the wacky Duck Dynasty due to their hunting, so-called ‘faith,’

and their male comradery. Little did they know or care about

what someone had said, even if there were others on the show

who felt it totally acceptable to put down gays. (All in the

name of religion.)

I told them, it does matter what famous people say. They are

held accountable since they are in front of cameras and being

interviewed and emulated. They get their money from this place

of limelight and company deals. We have at Advance Auto many

things, key chains, large and small decals and license plate

holders with Duck Dynasty on them. There are clothing lines

with their distinctive style being sold by large numbers.

By being okay with bad jokes, poor taste, inappropriate slurs

against race, creed, religion or sexual orientation, you pretty

much ‘deserve’ to be boycotted. Sorry. (But not really.)

Here is a rather short list of ways that a person is NOT

standing up to their principals:

1. Ignoring people in your group. They are ‘nice’ so you let

what they say, at times, ‘slide.’

2. Changing the subject and not addressing the issue.

3. Looking away when passing a poster or other public sight;

you could mention to you peers or your children. (Bad graffiti

that you hope they don’t notice, is actually a good time to

point it out. “We don’t feel that way in our household. We

don’t believe those words nor will we tolerate you using

them.”)

4. Simply shrugging your shoulders and saying, “That’s _____,

what can we do about him/her?” You can, again, mention to the

person, if you wish a private setting that you wish him/her

to refrain from such language. Family meetings where several

who hold the same anti-negativity belief can show ‘solidarity’

and possibly change that family member or friend’s response.

At the very least, as you are driving away from this person

who uses derogatory terms, you must tell your children how

you feel about such language. You may try to explain it by

saying the age of the person, but that won’t hold much merit,

really.

Children know more than you think about changing and evolving

society norms!

Lastly, the males at the table were very quiet and listened

to my statements about Duck Dynasty. I am not sure what they

may do, in the privacy of their own homes, but they agreed,

“It is a shame when people in today’s world, think they can

get off with such anti-gay statements.”

“Why do you have to make such a big deal about such unthinking

behavior?”

Because by ignoring, shrugging your shoulders, looking away

or changing the subject, you allow the chasm between right

and wrong to expand. Perpetuating the negativity only makes

us all less of who we are meant to be.

Friday Work “Quips”

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This is going to be a fun list of things you might hear around work,

mostly “G” rated quips. The ones starting the day are always what

get me laughing on my way to our “exercises.”

I may say, one of my favorites, sort of mumbling or grumbling,

“Here we go again! Another day, another dollar!”

One of my coworkers, Stephanie was witty one morning,

“Hey, wait a minute! You got that much… I need a raise!”

One of the maintainance men, Brian, retorted,

“Why that much? Did you find a dollar in the parking lot?”

There is a sweet lady, Joyce, who often says,

“Another day in paradise.”

I have added to hers sometimes,

“Where’s the margaritas and palm trees?”

Last night I went to a wine and wellness presentation that

was well received, almost 30 guests to hear youngest

daughter, Felicia speak about healthy foods and living

choices.

When I came in today, I had been up until midnight then

turned around to hear the alarm go off at 5:00 a.m.

Once at work, completed exercises with the little circles

and big circles, watching my friend Jean (otherwise known as

“Big Bird” in one of my recent love stories). I smiled and asked

her about any good things going  on around town this weekend.

She told me the same old group, Kreis Krupp and Ross would be

at Roops’ Brothers. I told her my young friend, Morgan Treni,

(her blog is called adventures of a beer goddess) was singing at

the London Road Winery, not sure of its name from 6-8 p.m.

We laughed and said, “MIght need a nap before then” (my response)

and her resonse was “A little early to be going out, dear.”

While in my lanes (Zones 11 and 12) I accidentally was dropping

pieces, non- breakable, though. Good ‘ol Darryl came up behind me

and said really loudly,

“Hey!”

I said, “Do you have to be so loud, Darryl?”

And he chortled, “Robin was out drinking again! Was you drinking last

night? Or this morning already?”

This is the game we play but you may as well know, I only have at the

most one or two glasses in a six hour time period!

Anyway, Darryl wanted to tell me that he and his wife were going out

to Old Bag O’ Nails, a nice, smaller central Ohio chain. He wondered

if I was going to be “lonely, tonight?”

I said, “You looking for a babysitter, or what?”

(He gave me his famous “Evil Eye” look.)

“NO! I was just trying to be nice and going to invite you to meet us for

a drink before we ate.”

I told him about Morgan singing, he said he would doub he and his

wife would want to go there, but thanks anyway.

“We aren’t much of wine drinkers, Robin.”

When I went downstairs to break in the morning, I ran into Cheryl.

She blurts out, “Robin, have you seen many butt cracks or cheeks

much today?”

We laughed about this a few times, sometimes we even COUNT the

guys who wear their droopy pants or they bend over. Cheryl is my

sister with another mother, dates her fine man, “stud” Scott.

As I got to the drinking fountain, one of the men from shipping

asked how many hours were we putting in today? I told him

only five hours, since we had put in almost 40 up till today.

“Did you hear about next week, Rob? They are going to slave

us away until 6 efvery night and then, on Friday before Labor

Day, going to really ‘poke us,’ make us work till after 6! (And we

start at 6 a.m. every Friday so that would be a twelve hour day.)

I said, “That is too bad, we are going to be almost that late all

week, but at least we will get overtime pay plus holiday pay.”

Shipper was angry at management and spouted off, “They just

don’t know when to stop shoving it up our behinds!”

Got away quickly, before more came out…

A young girl, Erin, and I were sitting in front of the television for our

12 minutes left in break time. She said when a commercial came

on for the show, “White Collar,” “Did you know that guy that

plays the crook is gay?”

I replied, “He’s cute and he plays a nice looking stripper in the

movie, “Mighty Mike.””

She commented, “I don’t care if he’s cute! He’s Gay!”

I said, “I don’t care if he’s gay, he’s cute!”

Back in Zones 11 and 12, I am trying my darndest to reach a product

that is on the bottom level. I have a long wooden stick with a metal

hook on it to grab the last item of its kind.

I hear footsteps on the wooden hollow sounding floor, a deep voice

asks, “Are you going to stay there a minute, that is a good position!”

Ooohhhh! That always gets me a little mad, how politically incorrect

and how I could file anywhere other than here, sexual harrassment

charges…

I get out of there, finally having a hold of an air filter box, and on my

knees, place the pole back on the first ledge.

Matt is there, grinning a wicked smile,

“So, if you are on your knees…. (and at my wrinkled brow and mean

frown on my face, he stops the rest of the comment.)

At lunch, unfortunately when we go beyond 11 a.m. we have lunch

when we start at 6. So, we are all together watching the beginning

of “The New Price is Right” with Drew Carey. I mention to Melvin

that there is a nice blogger that feels my editorials and funny work

stories could be fodder for a comedy series.

Melvin says, “We ain’t THAT funny!”

I replied, “No offense to the comedies, “Laverne and Shirley” and

“The Drew Carey Show” but they were blue collar workers delight.

I hope someday to at least get one script, maybe “Hot in Cleveland”

would take a look?”

Melvin just shook his head and said, “Keep dreaming, Robin!”

So, switching subjects I told him that our boss’ boss, Mike B., came

to show me I had made in this past three weeks, since we are

randomly “Q.C’d” a total of 4 errors one week, 2 errors another

and this week, 2 more errors. (FYI: I picked a total of 22,000 parts!!)

Melvin (“Mr. Smarty Pants”) said, “Well, its a ggod thing you don’t

work in a bank!”

I said, “But listen to this, my rate (or speed) was 110% and he gave

me three “Bravo points.”

Melvin shrugged, “We are rewarded for speed, not accuracy!”

Last part of the day, I was alone with Todd, he is a “hot” looking and

very fast worker, usually located in Heavy Bulk and riding on a PE

rider. I worked with him for 6-7 weeks two summers ago, had a lot

of fun, along with finding out how to “cut corners.” I made slow

progress in my rate but “Everyone in the building has to cross-train

or lose their jobs.”

Our favorite thing to do, when we would be out in the “singles’ world

of Delaware, Ohio” was to ask each other, whoever saw the other first,

“Are you stalking me?”

When I shopped, for example, for my son’s birthday clothes last Fall,

I was in Kohl’s men’s department. I was holding a black shirt and a gray,

black and green plaid pair of shorts up. I was not sure if the fine green

line was too “bright” or if the red fine line on another plaid pair of

shorts looked better. Jamie is always needing nice clothes, father of

two girls, stepdad to a girl and boy. Todd saw me and he exclaimed very

loudly,

“Come on, Robin! Seriously, you need to get a life and stop following me!”

I got him back at BW3’s, while with his group of over thirty year olds,

drinking a beer and deeply intent in the OSU football game,

“Oh My God! Todd! I haven’t seen you in ages! What a small world to run

into you here!”

(Anna and I quickly ran back to our table in the corner, giggling.)

Corey, who is a big gangly over thirty year old who hangs with Todd,

came over and sat on a tall stool asking which wings we liked the

best.

He is also a heavy bulk worker, we kind of think he is like a “big

teenager” and treat him like a kid. I give him candy and gum,

sometimes.

Corey found out what we were ordering and told me,

“I took a genius test in the Reader’s Digest in the dentist’s office

yesterday, Robin. Guess what? They said my test results made me

an Idiot Savant.”

I stared at him, perplexed, first of all it was Corey, after all. Then, I

said,

“Be very careful who you tell that to, they may get jealous!”

And as he got up, I added,

“Especially don’t tell Todd!”

(Hope that Todd won’t start teasing him and calling him an idiot!

Poor Corey, he would never hear the end of that with those heavy

bulk guys!)

Last funny thing that happened to me, I was in the bathroom and

you know how you really know not to pull loose threads but you

sometimes cannot resist the impulse? Oops! I did pull the elastic

thread on the top of my underwear… Just a little but somehow

when I pulled my pants up… you guessed it! My underwear would

not stay up!

I went directly past Cheryl and asked her to look at my “behind”

and she asked, “why?” of course.

I whispered what happened, now remember that Cheryl’s culture

is full of drama and loud exclaiming. I mean Tyler Perry movies are

not “made up out of thin air!” Believe me!

(But Cheryl is also the sweet sensitive person who likes my friend,

Bill, and says, “Aww… Robin why can’t you two be together?” and

we held hands, openly weeping, when Obama was inaugurated in

a room of only 20 coworkers out of possibly 200 or more who

could have come to see it on management’s “pay” time.

So, she can be sensitive and she loves the subject of “butts.”

She laughed loudly, she pushed me away and looked at me, she

asked me to bend over, I did. That is how close we are and she

was in an area called the Green Bins where you only have two

ends that people can come into and no way to see between

the racks.

She told me it looked like I had boxer shorts on, since where

the top of the panties ended, it was half way to my knees now.

The line looked like the bottom of boxers.

I said, “Cool!”

And until one hour later, as I was getting the last orders done, I

was just fine. But who should come up and make a comment?

Well, thank God, he is a good friend, has a wonderful lady he

lives with, so it was not off color but it was in a very curious tone,

“Are you wearing boxers today instead of underwear?”

“Melvin! Did Cheryl tell you?”

Yep, you guessed that might happen. Big mouth, Cheryl!

I think I need to just start wearing Depends!

Healthy Foods and Couscous

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My youngest daughter would prefer for us to go back to living in the

woods and eating only fresh from the vine, stem or tree. I was happy

to have her cooking a meal with Mediterranean Couscous and also,

fresh green beans. Yesterday she came by after she taught Pilates

and we sat down to eat a meal with a glass of wine, too

Today, while in the upper level of Advance Auto distribution center

picking products I ran into Melvin. I was following or chasing  him

around one of with both of our carts filled to the brim with auto

parts. I “hate” the ladder and how we go up and down to get from

the very top 6th shelf truly heavy products. I prefer “my” areas of

the front flow racks with what they call “pick to lights.”

I mentioned my leftovers for lunch to Melvin since I said, “Hey,

I ate healthy again last night!” He mentioned he had brought

me some more zucchini. I told him, “Thank you so very much,

Melvin! I love frying thin slices up with butter and onions when

my daughter isn’t around to make me use Smart Balance.”

Then he asked how my daughter made our couscous. I told him

that it involves a package that has “Near East” and “Mediterranean”

in the title. While we stood for a moment of silence contemplating

that oxymoron, because isn’t it true those are two different places?

Anyway, Melvin told me a totally surprising and wonderful fact about

himself!

We always talk about Boston, Massachusetts where his best Army

friends live, and I mention Rockport back to him. We can go on and

on about the subject of fresh lobster, clams and shrimp. But, other

than knowing about his seriously ill girlfriend last year who is definitely

“on the mend” this year and another fact; that he served for many

years in the Army and was a cook on an aircraft carrier, I did not

know this mindblowing fact!

Melvin told me that his mother used to make cous cous for his

breakfast taking a corn like mush and smashing it with a wooden

mallet (or mortar and pestle type situation), only the bowl was

made of clay. Then, she would add a combination of milk or cream

along with sugar. He said he had never tried cous cous like I was

describing. Since he eats at my lunch period, I said, “I will bring you

a bite to see how you like it.”

Of course, while we were in the “mezzanine” chatting and slowing

our carts down, up comes our boss’ boss and he gives us a serious

frown! We end the discussion or “table it,” so to speak, until lunch.

Melvin and his guy friends all sit facing the programmed sports

channel big screen television, while my table of five has one guy

and four women. We “lost” my surrogate son, “Chad,” and still have

not seen nor heard “hide nor hair” of him.  Our group faces a different

direction, watching “The New Price is Right” with Drew Carey!

When I was up at the microwave, I took a paper plate and put a scoop

of the cous cous and put a few chunks of fresh tomato and poured a

little tomato sauce over it. I put a little salt and pepper on my bigger

portion and a little sprinkle on Melvin’s “taste” plate. I heated both

plates up and went over to the guys’ table. Melvin took his paper plate

and I asked him, while he was blowing on it,

“When you were telling me about your mother, I was wondering,

would you mind my asking where you grew up?”

And this is an aside, this lovely and outgoing black friend of mine uses

very excellent Boston-accented English. Never would I have dreamed

he was born somewhere else and raised far away, too.

Melvin said, “I was born and raised on Cape Verdan Island, off of

Portugal. Both my parents were born there, too. I decided to join

the Army after I graduated from high school and that brought me

to boot camp in  the South of the U.S. From there, it took me to

Hawaii and on to Japan. When we have talked, you have always

seemed interested in my trips to Rickenbacker base to get some

food and household goods.”

I want you to know that I need to hear more about this but am

going over to join my friends for lunch. Thanks so much for the

zucchini in the fridge and hope your girlfriend is feeling better.

Tell her ‘Robin says hi and keeps her in my prayers.'”