Category Archives: Kentucky

Just Gross!

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If you are eating or about to eat, maybe skip this post today

and if curious, come on back later, please!

My friend and coworker, Linda, sat with us today at lunch. We

rarely have the chance to talk to her since she left our bins

order filling area to become part of the ‘Cycle Count’ area.

She is a pleasant, Kentucky-born woman who I have enjoyed

intermittent conversations with, over almost six years of

working at Advance Auto D.C. #23.

Linda had a ‘cross’ face on, while approaching our table, and

I wondered what had caused this upset in her day. She right

away launched into a discussion, aiming her comments at me!

“Robin, I swear! I could have killed my little grandchildren

last night! I went over at 6 p.m. to watch them, while their

parents went out for a business dinner.”

So far, that didn’t seem at all disturbing… I looked at her

and smiled, saying,

“Linda, I am going to be watching my M & M girls from 2 p.m.

on Saturday until 2 p.m. Sunday, I got you ‘beat!'”

She looked at me, like I was crazy! Linda then admonished me,

“I am not complaining about going over there and watching the

kids!” She said this a little louder than our ‘usual’ lunch

conversational level. Melvin looked over, from his table of

sports guys, Chuck and Corey sitting there, shaking their

heads at me.

“Okay, Linda, what upset you while babysitting the kids,

you used the word, ‘kill’ in a sentence with precious

Lindsey and Claire, implying they annoyed you.”

Then, Linda took a deep breath and we all sunk our teeth

into another bite of our food. Tammy and Karen were eating

‘machine’ food. This is food dispensed out of the machines.

I took a bite out of my peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Then, since a lightbulb went on in my head, I asked,

“Linda, why did you address your outrage at the grandkids

to specifically me?”

She smiled and said, “Since you are one to be able to

answer this question. Why does ‘Winnie the Pooh’ have his

stupid name?”

I actually did not have a clue, love Winnie the Pooh, have

shared memories of my Dad reading the book, “The House at

Pooh Corner,” to me from my early childhood. And the cute

page boy haircut allowed my Dad to insert the simple name

of “Robin” instead of “Christopher Robin,” and for years

I thought little Robin was a girl!

“Start from the beginning, please!” I exclaimed.

“Well, I took my cardboard “Classic Pooh” book over to

my son and daughter in law’s house, having never read it

to my granddaughters. I found it and was so glad that

the two year old and three year old won’t be able to

rip it. I cannot wait to read the longer, older book

that has chapters in it, to them!”

I showed them the book, read the title of the story,

“Winnie the Pooh Discovers the Seasons,” and guess

what those little urchins did? They rolled around and

laughed, ridiculously torrents of sniggers, finally

a rollicking giggling ‘fit’ started!”

We all looked puzzled. Questions were flowing across

the lunch table. But we just stared at her. We waited,

since she seemed very peeved at those adorable children!

Linda finally explained, “They had apparently never heard

of Winnie the Pooh, thought the word used was, ‘poo.’

Their mother, my daughter in law, (Linda was using a rather

annoyed tone with this comment) taught them about ‘dog poo’

and when Claire was born, taught Lindsey to call her dirty

diapers, since she was still little herself (they are only

18 months apart) to call her diaper a ‘poo-ey’ diaper.

In fact she even taught her the initials, ‘P.U.!!'”

We all then started laughing! We could see how this would

happen, but wondered aloud, “Why didn’t my kids think this

way, when I first read this to them?”

The only thing we could come up with was that maybe they

didn’t think of ‘poo’ as ‘poop’ in most of our households.

So, then, Melvin had to interject a much grosser use of

the word, ‘poop.’ He said to our astonishment,

“Did you hear that Arnold Palmer couldn’t hold his bowel

movement until he reached a bathroom and he pooped on a

golfing green?”

Supposedly, this was on the sporting news and had even

‘hit’ the radio sports channel today. Chuck said he also

had heard it and added this line,

“Arnold’s caddy tried to deny it and sounded kind of snotty,

to another person who asked, ‘Is this poop one of Arnold’s?’

and the caddy answered, ‘No, of course not. Arnold would

never do such a thing…'”

We all thought this was really strange and weird.

Then Melvin piped up with his solution to the problem,

using his keen Army honorably discharged and combat-trained

mind to come up with this one:

“I think I’ll invent a rolling Port-A-Pot, so that caddies

can bring their golfers they work for, an instant place to

sit and take a ‘sh__!'”

Linda got up, disgusted and said,

“Melvin, I was talking about children and needed Robin to go

find out ‘why in the world would A.A. Milne name the teddy

bear, ‘Winnie the Pooh?’ in the first place!”

I somehow switched the subject to how my youngest daughter

has a very active ‘gag reflex’ while changing dirty diapers.

She went so far, when my little (now 5) Micah was born, asking

his older brother, Skyler to get a clothespin out of Nana’s

art supplies’ box.

Chuck leaned over and asked me to find out how the skunk

in the cartoons, Pepe le Pew’s name came about. Was it a

‘slam’ against the French? His complete name is Charles and

has some French Canadian blood in him.

Then, Tammy told me to come back tomorrow with the answer

about why the bear is called, “Pooh.”

Tammy left and Karen and I were left, pondering and then,

Karen uttered that funny little Pooh quote, “Bother!”

We started chuckling about how Melvin had grossed Linda

out and how we never have a dull moment at work!

Here is a little history and background information about

the subject of Winnie the Pooh and his answer about why

the bear has its name. The stuffed animal menagerie of

Christopher Robin included Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Kanga,

baby Roo, Eeyore, Piglet and Owl. Disney added “Gopher.”

Here is a list of dates of A.A. Milne’s books:

1. “When We Were Young,” published in 1924. This book

includes poems written for young children. It includes one

about a teddy bear, named Winnie the Pooh.

2. “Winnie the Pooh,” published in 1926. This book has two

vague sentences that refer to the bear’s name.

3. “Now We Are Six,” published in 1927. It includes a nice

compilation of poetry for young listeners.

4. “The House at Pooh Corner,” published in 1928. This is

the one book that I still have from my early childhood,

from which my Dad read to us from. I have all the books

that are here, along with a great little collection that

the gas company of BP published. I collected two sets of

these and have two hard cardboard books that have snippets

of the poetry and stories. One is a Disney production book.

Are you ready for Linda’s answer? I had to write this down,

not only to type it into my blog post, but she will get the

handwritten one tomorrow, (TGIF!)

In the first chapter of “Winnie the Pooh,” there is a somewhat

explanation why A.A. Milne’s son, (Christopher Robin Milne)

had a bear named Edward. This became known later as “Pooh,”

because of this offhand comment:

“But his (the bear’s) arms were so stiff… they stayed up

straight in the air for more than a week, and whenever a

fly came and settled on his nose he had to blow it off.

And I think– but am not sure, that that is why he is

always called Pooh.”

Now, let me tell you, I didn’t think this was very clear,

not one bit! I bet Linda will not believe this is the

only explanation that A.A. Milne includes in his books.

All I can say is, we have to believe this is how it went.

I could hear the bear blow a puff of breath out, “pooh!”

Spring News

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Happy (End of the) First Day of Spring!

The Old Farmer’s Almanac, for April, 2014 predicts the

average Central states’ temperature will be 59 degrees!

That is news to celebrate! That is a little higher than the

seasonable average of years past… except two years ago,

in 2012, we had on our first day of Spring’s weather an

incredibly high temperature, in the eighties! This year’s

almanac also predicts the first week will be warm and the

month will be the “typical” April, filled with showers.

As far as flowers are concerned, my friend’s garden has

between 3 and 4 inches of crocuses, hyacinths, tulips

and daffodils showing green ‘sprouts.’ I love seeing the

popping out of flowers! The old adage that, “Winter isn’t

over until the yellow forsythia is in bloom,” means that

we still have a little more winter left. Unfortunately,

I have checked the woodsy area of her yard, where her

forsythia bush is, to verify this fact. I have seen a few

pussy willows showing their furry buds.

In the foothills South of us, leading to the stunning Smoky

Mountains, I wonder has anyone heard if the redbuds are in

bloom yet? I enjoy their fuchsia, purple color that is so

common in the woods and forests of Kentucky and Tennessee.

The contrast of their bright color, among the fresh, bright

green buds on other bushes and trees is quite breathtaking.

Another amazing place to trek to in Ohio, is Cedar Bog

State Nature Preserve. It has unusual plants that are

very exciting since they come from when the ancient

glacier deposited its seeds and remnants of rich soil.

I have seen in their woods: Violets, Spring Beauties,

Jack in the Pulpit and Trillium, which is also known as

Indian Turnip, since they are considered edible. There

is a wide variety of different hued flowers including

the pinkish-lavender of Dame’s Rocket, the yellow Swamp

Buttercup, and the purple Greek Valerian. The hummingbirds

enjoy the nectar in the Red tipped Wild Columbine flowers.

(Compared to the purple and blue Columbine of Colorado.)

This nature preserves has a bog, swampy area and the

prairie areas with their unique plant life. The prairie

area is also known as the “prairie fen complex.” In this

area you can find different trees like the White Cedar

Trees, tall Arbor-Vitae and the Swamp Birch Trees.

The rainbow-colored flowers with the greenery deck out

Mother Nature quite nicely in all her glory!

Cedar Bog is recognized for one of their most unusual

flowers, growing in large quantities, considered the

biggest collection around. This is that of the Showy Lady

Slipper orchids. They are not in bloom until late May or

June, though.

Nature photographers gather there and lean in close to

take those perfect shots that capture the floral beauty

all year ’round.

When I think of the word, “Spring,” I think of the word

buoyancy. Everything if so full of life and new energy.

I think of pastels, like the pink and lavender hyacinths

combined with the yellow and white daffodils with their

orange-red details in their stamens. My Mom’s favorite

tulips are the ones that have ruffled edges, hers with

bright pink tips with white petals. Then, she would plant

beside them, those dark, deep purple tulips. The contrast

was always outstanding.

I liked the scents of lavender, lilacs, lilies of the field

and honeysuckle in the warm sunshine. The bees buzzing did

not phase me in my youth. I would not worry about their

sting, when I leaned in to take deep breaths of flowers.

My grandchildren adore the A.A. Milne character, Tigger.

His ‘springy’ bounce on his coiled tail illustrates the

way I feel about ‘Spring!’ They like to bounce on the bed,

where they wear the ‘springs out!’ I think of a cat, up

high looking down at its prey, a mouse, from a fencepost

or rook. He is poised and ready to spring to catch his

tasty meal!

Wishing you Spring in your step and Light in your Heart!

Man of Steel, a teacher

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For Father’s Day, I always emphasize that there are many men

out there who act like fathers, do the job of fathers and need to be

remembered, thanked and hugged for their beyond the ‘call of duty’

efforts. What male role model do you think of “outside the box” who

played a valuable role and impacted your life during your formative

years?

I have a man in mind, who may or may not be alive, but he was

our Science Club counselor, leader and mentor. His name was

Mr. Bobniz! We had a motley crew with members that were very

strong, active participants in many activities and then there were

a few who probably joined because there was a genuine love and

acceptance theme going on. No one was excluded!

Mr. Bobniz overlooked rudeness, swearing and general rowdiness.

We all got together with him like a team, planned many wonderful

outings. We went to parks, creeks and streams. We rode our bikes

from the West side suburb of Bay Village, Ohio to Sandusky to put our

bikes on a ferry to Kelley’s Island. Where we saw the glacial grooves, no

drinking at the local winery, but lots of good, clean fun as getting away

from town and letting loose does for young teenagers!

We planned and connived Mr. Bobniz into getting some extra cash

funding to take us on a big trip to Mammoth Cave. Wow! We were so

excited! We were sure glad to go to the Health Museum, the Science

Museum and the Cleveland Zoo, but this trip would top all of them!

Yes, we were kind of “nerds” or “nerdy” and we had some kids in the

group who could join the actors and actresses in the television show,

“The Big Bang Theory” but we were leaving the state of Ohio! You can

imagine the kind of snacks, meals and money that we were needing

to embark on this trip. We were leaving early on a Saturday while

returning in our long caravan of cars with walkie talkies, on Sunday

afternoon. Only a couple of parents were coming as chaperones.

So fun you could explode with scientific facts about stalactites, stalagmites

and bat droppings!

I will never forget the silly antics of what  one motel room full of wild boys

who decided to collect our pop cans throughout the whole trip did.

After all, we were recyclers! We collected once a month newspapers and

magazines for the Science Club paper drives. Anyway, since there were

2 exits; one was a sliding glass door exit out of each room and the other,

a hallway door, this group of guys piled pop cans high into a tower by the

hallway door. They got a string, an apple and rigged it so that it would fall

when the door opened by the poor maid. We laughed about the stunt on the

the way home. Along with their catching what they thought was a live poisonous

spider, whether the brown recluse or the black widow, I cannot know, and

putting it under one of the glasses in the bathroom. (Side note, remember when

motels had real glasses and not paper, plastic or styrofoam cups?)

Mr. Bobniz was a hero. He was a teacher, friend and most of all, he

played Father to us during some of the wildest sober times teens could

have. As far as we know, he never married. And we are not sure about

his sexual preference, he never mentioned partners, dates or either

women friends or male friends to us. He listened to our little quarrels,

our numerous complaints about school politics and the “establishment.”

If you grew up in the seventies or even, the eighties you can relate to all

of that. I know Viet Nam existed on our t.v. sets every night while we ate

dinner. But these carefree and innocent Science Club moments are worth

mentioning and remembering.

Thank you, Mr. Bobniz!

I am not sure if you ever were chosen but better late than

never:

You deserve Teacher of the Year award, 1974!

Short and Long of It

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Tonja is short and sweet, Milton is tall, long armed and legged.

 He has unusually large hands. These two people look like polar

opposites but have the cutest three children. They have the silliest

story of “How we met each other.”

Tonja was working in the frosting cookies section of Cheryl’s 

Cookies in Columbus, Ohio when she found herself daydreaming.

She had “taken a liking to the muffin man.” She was from a small

town in the eastern hills of Kentucky and had moved north with

a high school girlfriend. They had saved their hard earned wages

from waiting tables at a truck stop to head to the “Big, exciting City 

of Columbus, Ohio.”

In the middle of a busy day, Tonja was looking across the almost

‘factory atmosphere’ at the tall, lanky dark haired ‘muffin man.’

He was pouring blueberry muffin dough into the machine that

squirts it in spurts. This process makes the large, blueberry muffins

that have coarsely ground sugar sprinkled on immediately before

baking.

She had “no clue” to his name, but she had several daily fantasies

on the subject of the unknown tall, dark and handsome muffin man.

The dreams started with her drive into work, while working and

finally, right before her eyes closed each night. These started since

she first saw, coveted and craved possessing him!

For some reason, he was preoccupied. He was glancing in a whole

different direction from where he was pouring the blueberry muffin

dough. And, to her horror and concern, he was missing a big glob

that was slowly sinking down the side of the “chute you poured the

dough into.”

Tonja set her vanilla butter cream frosting tube down on a sheet of

parchment paper. She had made a huge decision that could get her

into trouble, one kind she would not mind at all! (If you could hear

Tonja gleefully telling this story, it would be so much more fun!)

Anyway, Tonja started trotting across the distance to the muffin

making center.

The muffin man did not hear her first cry of “Hey” from several feet

away. He was still distracted, in his own world and not paying

attention.

Tonja repeated her yell, “Hey! You are missing your pour and it is

oozing down the side of the chute!”

As his head turned and he focused into who was talking to him, his 

face changed and broke into a friendly smile. He said, “Hey!” back

at Tonja. He also did grab a clean cloth to try to salvage the dough

by running it back up the tube and into the chute.

As he did this, in a very casual voice he spoke, “My name is Milton,

what’s yours?”

That is the short story that will tell you so much by reading between

the lines and believing that two coworkers can be meant to be forever

together, the “Muffin Man,” his wife, the “Frosting Girl” and their little

munchkins. One of whom wears pink cowboy boots everywhere she 

goes, to kindergarten, to the store, to family gatherings and to our

annual Advance Auto summer picnic where I met her. You can just

tell that these parents march to their own drummer, along with their

little brood.

Tonja works no longer at Cheryl’s Cookies, she is a first bin order filler.  

Milton no longer works there either. He is a great third shift shipping

clerk working at Advance Auto distribution center also.

They are two happy ships that cross paths in the morning who give each

other a “hello” and “goodbye” kiss.

Love is the Air!

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There is love in the air recently with the warm breath of Spring coaxing it along!

There are two stories to prove it is happening close to us around here!

Scott C. (worker at Advance Auto) who recently went through a divorce, had

some good news. I had written a story about him mentioning his young age

of 30 years old and being a childhood friend of my middle child, and only

son. Scott had been online talking to a woman who is a teacher. Scott came

up to me at work to tell me first he had been chatting for almost a month.

Recently, Scott and his online acquaintance had been Skypeing. When he

heard she was going to Pennsylvania for Easter he felt an impulse to act!

He looked up her hotel online and started to think, “Hey, my kids are with

their mother for the holiday and my parents are going out of state to visit my

brother and sister in law… Maybe, I could meet her for the first time and

surprise her in PA!”

Well, if that isn’t a sweet thought, I don’t know what is! I realized to go over

7 hours driving one way would be a truly romantic gesture that only a young

and impulsive man might do! (Would a middle aged man do that for me?

Hmmm…. I wish!) Scott also made a hotel reservation at the same hotel for

himself where she would be staying at with her two Kentucky friends. The

three women would be traveling together since her friends had been invited

to her parents’ house.

This surprising her could have gone either of two ways! He could impress her

and make her very happy or he could embarrass himself ! (OR it could go over like

a lead balloon!) I was so happy to hear the end of the story and the pleasant results

that everything went smoothly. She said she already had a “big crush” on him and

now, she was beginning to “fall in LOVE” with him! He got to meet her family and

he said they really liked him also. Her friends that were staying at the hotel due to

her parents’ smaller home and tight quarters, also liked him. Scott did not expect to

be invited to the dinner, just had hoped to be able to go out with the three women on

their first night there (Good Friday).

Scott C. is a good catch and he stumbled upon her in an online chat room for

singles. Just a word of encouragement for those looking and using these places.

Another happy start to his new life as a single man, is a story involving a nice

man named Chad A. He is also a coworker of mine. I have become over time his

second mother. He is probably vaguely referred to in my posts that include my

breakroom and lunch table mates. Jill, Anna, Peggy and David are some of the

rest of the fellow group members.

Chad had married three years ago after meeting a woman named Pat at a friend’s

party. He had taken his bride to the hospital to see his mother who was not doing

so well with chemo treatments for her cancer. He had felt closer to Pat in a short

time than any other relationship from his post high school days. He now looks back

and can see the signs of future trouble but did not pay attention at the time. He feels

being distraught over his mother’s ongoing cancer and rapid health deterioration

made him make a rash decision to get married while she was alive. He and Pat made

uncomplicated arrangements with a short amount of time with help from Pat’s parents

and some financial help from his father. We, at work, were happy for Chad to have Pat

to support him through a lot of his mother’s ailment.

Chad asked his mother if she was really sure she wanted his bride and he to go on their

honeymoon after the wedding? His Mom said, like the amazing mother she was,

“It is my only source of joy, Chad!” These words created a powerful effect on all of us

while listening to his plans three years ago.

They had had their family’s pastor marry them in the hospital chapel.

The two families had their small reception with finger sandwiches and cake served in

a conference or gathering room. Chad’s mother was tired but able to attend.

Chad and Pat hugged her frail, upright body in the wheelchair and said they loved her.

She replied, “I love you both. Now go and celebrate your marriage!”

While Chad and his bride were on their Caribbean cruise, his mother died. Unusually

so, his father and brother did not call him. This took courage and a lot of love on his

small family’s decision to wait until the newlyweds came home. They met the couple

at the airport and then, still waited to take them out to a quiet restaurant. That is where

they told Chad and Pat that his mother had passed away. His father emphasized,

“This is what your mother wanted for you, Chad! To be happy, to be married and to not

know if she died until the honeymoon was over.”

Fast forward  to only one year ago, Chad was struggling immensely with the burden of a

virtually psychotic wife. He was at his wit’s end and had asked for his Dad, his father- and

mother- in- law along with his brother to join him at his small house out in Kilbourne.

Chad had these people wait on the porch until all were gathered, he served them iced tea

and cookies.

Chad said he started to weep but would not tell them what was wrong. He had them enter

the house together. This was during Spring, 2012 and it was already hot and we had started

working our ten hour days. He was worn out in more than one way.

What the families saw shocked them! Chad’s wife had allowed clutter to pile to the ceiling

in their short two year marriage. She did not work at all, so Chad had decided to be the

‘chief cook and bottle washer.’ Chad had tried to decide what responsibilities to carry out

and what he had decided would be a fair amount for Pat to do while she stayed at home

not working at all. Finally, with some periodic conversations with us at work about

where he  should draw the lines. He had decided not to touch or handle all of Pat’s clothes

and magazines that she seemed to accumulate daily into big messes. He enjoyed taking the

dog outside. He also drove Pat to the psychiatrist for her weekly visits.

On this Spring day, he had asked this close knit family group here that day to see for

themselves what he had been living with for the past two years.

He wanted to ask for forgiveness, he did not want to carry on any longer the charade he had

kept hidden.

We had counseled him at our work between the five of us, three older divorced women

and Anna, the widow, plus occasionally a man named Melvyn. We all had helped him to

decide to take Pat to a counselor.

This action had not been easy for Chad to almost force Pat to leave the house to go to the

mental health center. We had suggested him to seek Christian counseling for their marriage

from their pastor. Chad had felt guilty and done a lot of worrying about his not having a “good

reason for seeking a divorce.” We had compassion and also, most importantly, we felt as his

‘surrogate mothers,’he needed permission to give up the sinking ship!

None of the family had gone to their house since they had been married. Mostly, Chad had

chosen to always go to Pat’s or his Dad’s house. Only a few times had they been able to afford

to go out to eat or meet at a restaurant.

The intervention lasted an hour with Pat sitting on the sofa listening. Chad continued to show

remorse and cried throughout. When his Dad said, “Whatever my son wants to do, I am 100%

behind him!” Chad was shocked because in his few times he would complain about Pat to his

Dad, his father had always said, “You need to try harder.”

His brother and his mother in law were in sympathy for Pat. His father in law, in contrast,

almost yelled at his daughter,

“What is the matter with you? You never were allowed to make such a mess under our roof!”

Chad gave them a final tour of the house. None of Chad’s clothes were in piles, he walked

them to his closet where even his work t-shirts were on hangers. He had no mess on his

half of the bedroom and the kitchen was very clean. The area where Pat sat and watched

television all day was cluttered and dirty with dishes, food wrappers and magazines.

Chad explained he gave her $40 for groceries and she almost always would buy junk food

and only a few good choices. He had gotten in the habit of stopping by a Subway to get his

lunch food, sandwiches or soup and a salad. We had noticed some of this and heard of most

of it over the years.

Anyway, the love found on the internet last Fall, 2012 after the divorce was “just a friendship.”

Chad had found a woman who listened to all his recent troubles. This remarkable woman who

was 26 years (Chad is 31 years old) was willing to be his friend. They went to parks and engaged

healthy, outdoor activities together. She had drawn a line with any kind of romance. She really

wanted him to be soundly single and not make her the “rebound relationship.” Chad is a trusting

man so we worried when he started this so soon after the summer’s divorce. But we did encourage

him to relax and have some fun!

Last Friday, while walking around Delaware, Anna and I ran into Chad and Miranda! We were

so pleased, they approached us holding hands and looking all “moony” at each other. We waved

from a distance and Chad said something to her and then waved back. We crossed the street where

the laser tag and different games were going on, surprised we even spotted him through the crowd.

They are both tall and Miranda has strawberry blonde layered hair. They looked perfect together!

We are so glad that  we had helped him to move on in his life. It was an enormous decision to

make:

By giving up a marriage that was weighing him down, mainly holding on because his mother

had given her blessing. The last thing she had emphasized had been to say their marriage was

her reason she would hold onto life. We have to hope she sees Chad is happy and would want this

to be the way it ends up.

Being the angel Chad’s mother was, she may have changed her blessing to “Be happy!”

Lonnie and Sherry: 50 Years

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I think it is terrific when I hear of a long-lasting married couple

(fifty years later this year!) who still enjoy their times together.

Lonnie and Sherry met while he was only 21 and she was even

younger, at age 16. They would talk to each other while supervised

by her parents or her brother, as time went by. They even had to sit

one in the front driving (Lonnie) and her brother, Joey, in the

“shotgun” position. Sherry and her friend, Julie, would be in the back.

I am so surprised that their parents even let a 16 year old out with a

man five years older!

Lonnie brings this up abruptly while strolling down my lane in the

distribution center during the first year I was struggling to work there.

It was a sweltering hot day and he was as cool as a cucumber! He tells

me that the weather reminds me of the time he met his wife.

I welcomed the stories since they managed to get my mind off the heat.

I was just adjusting to lack of air conditioning and the heavy work load,

too.

Lonnie is almost 70 years old now. He works the job for the health and

life insurance, part time for 30 hours a week. He has told me they are “set”

in their finances and have a great retirement amount waiting. He adds, he

has decided that will be at age 72!

Now, just so you know, he used to do my job, which is admittedly harder

and requires heavy lifting at a faster rate. I feel he has done his time, so

he deserves a less stressful position. Now, he is called a “put away” man,

which its department is referred to as, “replenishment” or “replen.”

Lonnie told me the first time he met me that Sherry’s parents were hoping

someone would “rescue” her. She was a beautiful young woman with raven

black hair that she now softens with a reddish toned hair dye.

Lonnie has shown me his wife as a great grandmother in pictures. I have

seen photos of the two of them in matching dancing outfits. Also, he has let

me hold his well worn, ragged edged photograph of her as a sweet, innocent

16 year old beauty. Her looks equaled many movie starlets of that period.

“Why did she need rescued?” I queried.

Sherry’s family lived in the rural part of a backwoods Kentucky county. Their

home was hid up in a hill where there were plenty of rusty, old and used cars

piled up around trailers and simple houses.

Lonnie swears Sherry’s family “saw him coming a mile away.”

Lonnie was a “city slicker” with an associate’s degree in business from a local

college. He was selling products at night and working a day job. His goal was

to:  “Get out of Kentucky and live in a big city in Ohio.”

Lonnie was out at a local bar near his college when he met Joey. Both were

equally loquacious and gregarious. I am using my big words to indicate they

were super outgoing and friendly with the ladies! In their eagerness to conquer

the room full of young women, they became fast friends. Not too many days

later, Lonnie found his way over to Joey’s house up in the hills. He had come

to ask him to join him for a drive in his new car. (Oh, oh! guys don’t get mad, I

am sure that Lonnie told me the type of car and it was a really cool kind of car.

Not a convertible, but it was supposed to be the impressive kind in those days.)

Lonnie happened to be introduced on this occasion to Joey’s parents and his

one and only sister.

“Big mistake!” Lonnie said, “I was a goner from the moment I spotted Sherry!

She stole my heart on that hot summer night!”

Joey and Lonnie went off to a local watering hole. Lonnie pelted Joey with

questions about Sherry, as they played several games of pool. Joey said that

Sherry had never been out on a date, she was allowed to be “friends only”

with boys. Their mother had been pregnant with Joey at Sherry’s age and

would not want her history to repeat itself.

Lonnie did not wait until Sherry was much older before he started courting

her. He tried to persuade her parents to allow her out with him alone; that

was not going to happen! So, he cooperated by taking Joey and Sherry’s best

friend as chaperones.

One year after the courting stage went on “forever” in Lonnie’s rakish mind,

Sherry’s father was asked to meet with Lonnie. He decided to pick her father

up, take him to a very fine restaurant in those parts, and they sat and talked

“man to man.” Lonnie showed her father his bank account that had $1000

in it. That was ‘like a million to them,’ he recounted. Sherry’s father asked if

his intentions were “honorable” like the fathers in old black and white movies

used to do.

Lonnie told him his dream was to marry Sherry and to take her to Ohio where

they would own a nice home and invite her parents to come and visit often.

He wanted to be given permission to ask for her hand in marriage.

Lonnie’s long range plan would be to someday have enough money to have

her parents move up North and live down the street in a house he would buy.

Then, Lonnie and Sherry would have children together. Their grandchildren

would be close for them to play with and enjoy, he told Sherry father.

He painted pictures in the air like crazy and Sherry’s father granted him

permission to marry his daughter. He was very happy that Sherry would be

given such wonderful opportunities.

Lonnie asked Sherry to marry him and it was not as smooth as he had planned.

He had picked her up and brought her to the nicest restaurant, the one he had

taken her Dad out the week before.

These days, he supposes, people would say, “It didn’t go down like he thought

it would.”

Sherry looked down at her plate. She looked up at Lonnie’s eager face. She

glanced around the restaurant. Finally, she swallowed and said, “I am not sure.”

Sherry liked Lonnie but he was the first she had really kissed and she felt she

was still young and attractive enough to have more choices. She said, “Thank you.

You are sweet, Lonnie.”

Lonnie spent another six months trying to win Sherry over before she turned 18.

He knew there were more fish in the sea. He also knew she could have her pick

of them!

Lonnie had permission to take her to movies, to restaurants and they also would

stop on the way home on a cliff overlooking the little town where she had been

raised. He was five years older and more experienced. He admits he started to

use a little more technique and he tried to “put the moves on her.”

Eventually, whatever button he pushed, Sherry capitulated and said, “Yes.”

They married, they moved to a nice house in Marion, Ohio along the main tree

lined boulevard. It had taken him a few trips to find a good paying job. He also

made arrangements to bring his evening sales job up to Ohio. He felt that they

were on the path to forever and he was so happy.

Like I started this story, every time I see Lonnie he tells me a little more about

his life with Sherry. I have known him for five years in June, 2013. I have yet

to meet Sherry but I do know she never worked in a job outside of her home.

She is a big gardener and cans vegetables still. I have had pickled beets,

banana peppers, and applesauce, among many other items Lonnie has

brought to me in a paper bag. I send little notes of gratitude back to Sherry.

Sherry bakes bread, makes cookies and I have also been the beneficiary of these

delicious treats. I am not sure why Lonnie (who is only 13 years older than I)

has taken me under his wing. I think, somehow along the way, he has heard

me say, “My life is much more simple now.”

Or I may have told him on a winter’s morning, “I miss my garage!” I speculate he

thinks of his wife’s and his own comforts and just feels like sharing them.

I am thankful for the friendship and also, the wonderful story that is now almost

told.

They live deliriously happy and have nights where they win dancing contests,

days where they are on cruises or cruising on their tandem bicycle to the library

to pick up some books and films to watch. The couple have her mother still around

and her father has been buried in the local cemetery. Their only son lives not too

far away with his wife and family.

Sherry’s brother, Joey, and his wife, Julie, also live up in Marion. It is very pleasant

to know another happily ever after story.

When Bill Makes His Subtle Opening

Standard

Bill has sent me 2 emails and I have sent him 2 emails. It is like passing notes

still with our pieces of our life in short sound bites in the halls of work. He

finally after a couple of long weeks on my part, after I received his to my mind,

cryptic quote, emails me, “Would you like to meet on Sunday afternoon at Bob

Evans for coffee?”

He meets me in the parking lot, he chuckles deeply almost like Santa Claus. He

is medium built but a deeper more heavy voice. He and I walk in, he asks for a

booth to sit at. He has 2 albums tucked under his arm. One he shows me of his

family and the sights of Eastern Kentucky. Another he opens and shows me

pictures of his caving days. I right away recognize 2 men he is with in the pics.

I worked for 4 years at a nursing home, activities director, he has pictures of one

of the widowers that I met who volunteered with, his 2 sons are Bill’s caving buddies.

We look at a lot of caves in Carter County, Kentucky. I enjoy his stories. We don’t

cover much of my ground but it is important to listen, too.

Bill tells  me he likes to paint and play guitars. He is a very well-rounded person, with

lots of interests. Now, another surprise! Two of his children knew my older two kids.

I used to drop my kids up at a house in Prospect, Ohio and they would camp out. There

were several of my older kids’ friends who played guitar, Bill kind of tutored them and

sat around the campfire singing with my kids. Small world, with now 3 connections

made.

I am not sure if we will be friends but I do want to know more about him and as time

will tell, we will begin a good friendship, with many journeys over about 4 years.

I will close this story since some of it is sad, we tried to be more than friends but really

had few personal connections. We were polar opposites in the way we approached life,

family and interpersonal relationships. He tried to be more open, but he was a person

from childhood on, that brooded and thought more than wanting to solve and connect

with people, his ex-wife and mother of 5 children in particular. With me, he could not

understand the need to talk things out, why? he kept asking. Accept our differences, but

he would get upset and then in long days’ worth of silence he would touch base again.

I think he was a great friend to my daughter, still remains a good friend of mine. When

the chips are down or things go wrong, I need to make sense of them, and in our family

we communicate whether or not it is pleasant or right.